Friday, 29 March 2013

Whitewater Nursery: Fun amongst the greenery.

In the event that you fancy some hog roast and seeing some startlingly beautiful plants and people in an exquisite location , get yourself down to the grand opening of Whitewater Nursery this Bank Holiday weekend.

You can find them here. Really, go and see.

So what has top flight garden design got to do with me, the urban computer lady whose own garden looks like a post-apocalyptic wasteland?

The truth is, I was lucky enough to land a gig as the computer support person for Hortus Loci when they started a year or two ago. I love going there. The energy and buzz there sometimes makes me have to dance in the office.

Now they have revamped the retail plant centre that was on their site when they moved in: the aforementioned Whitewater Nursery.

A few weeks ago, Mark called me over and asked me to build a brand new computer to power the retail centre. The spec was make it good and get it going before Good Friday. "No problem" I drawled with a lazy confidence, "That's ages"

I brought the spec home to Caversham and the guys set about designing and building a bespoke computer. It looked good on paper. The thing is, you don't know till you've got the bits all over the workbench that the power supply won't reach the motherboard. The front USBs won't fit in anywhere. The fancy case has a dicky on button. Etc.

Time was marching on, and we entered a frenzied phase of ordering different bits . We are now knee-deep in high-quality components that won't talk to each other.

Finally, at 2:30pm, on the day before Good Friday, I drove down to Hound Green with a set of cardboard boxes that housed the finest computer in the world. "Right up against the deadline there Helen" Mark remarked, perhaps a little more strained than usual. "It'll be fine" I trilled, bricking it.

With only 3 hours to go, Caroline (from Whitewater) and I decided now might be a good time to completely redesign the layout of the retail centre office.

The main challenge was turning the desk as per this diagram. Simple, right? Look again. Impossible, right?

How did they get it in there in the first place? Witchcraft?

Caroline and I succeeded in flipping the desk onto its back, legs in the air and then we were stumped.

One of the benefits of working there, is you just call and a hench young man turns up to help. In this case,  the game Toby, with his set of allen keys.

We took the top off the desk and now we had a bare set of legs, almost the same size as the desk itself. Same problem. I sunk into despair, but no such loser-ish behaviour from T and C who somehow did it. They had to knock a few chunks out the wall, granted.

Yes! Legs in position, all we now had to do was reattach the top. We all three lay on the floor under the desk and offered up our screws. The next ten minutes became increasingly hilarious.
"I can't find the hole!"
"It's not going in!"
"Oh yes it is! Yes it is!"
"Have you got yours in?"

We were finally floored into helpless laughter by Toby's remark that he thought he was finally managing to get it up.

Good times. I was then left to actually set up the computer. But the gods of servers, software and printer drivers were for once smiling on me and the computer was good to go by 5:30pm. "Tis done" I intoned. Finally we could all admit that we had indeed been bricking it.

Good luck with the relaunch guys. The place looks fab and hey! the sun is shining.


  1. well done, Helen did good! Great blog as always Sally x


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