A woman’s shed is her castle

Agapanthus & Lily 001
summer 2012

When I moved into my current home, just over four years ago, I sourced a small garden shed for sale in the local newspaper; its owner was leaving the country and everything had to go. She said it was about 5 years old, but when she took only £40 for it and not the £60 advertised price I thought she may be feeling guilty about making out it was newer than it actually was. Still, after reconstruction in my brand new garden, I gave it a coat of beautiful blue paint which covered most of the dodgy rotten parts and it didn’t look too bad. A couple of years later a friend kindly refelted the roof and once again the shed had a new lease of life. Yet another year on it was still looking respectable and I had grown rather fond of it as the home of my gecko and origin of the avatar I use on all my social media interaction. Shabby Chic had taken off, and my shed was definitely shabby.

This spring, however, after a protracted and extremely wet winter, things shedwise had taken a bit of a nosedive. The whole thing was leaning so far to the right that the door barely fitted, half the roof was sagging so badly even the cat avoided it, there were large patches devoid of paint and the wooden slats were rotting fast and hanging at all sorts of angles. The time had come to invest in a new shed.

So, after a trip to the local hardware superstore, my brand new 6ft x 4ft shed (“Shetland” made by Shire Garden Buildings) was delivered, flatpacked, a week ago and I have spent a few afternoons between rain showers painting it inside and out. I used Cuprinol Shades in “Forget-me-not” for the outside which is pretty similar to the old shed’s colour. A 2.5litre can was enough to give 2 coats all round and 3 coats to the panels which will get most weather. I had a free donation of a half can of Weathershield smooth exterior masonry paint in “Dutch Gold” and watered that down slightly to cover all the inside surfaces including the underside of the roof and the underside of the floor. I realise masonry paint isn’t really the right thing to be painting wood with, but, hey, beggars can’t be choosers and I figure any kind of paint will help extend the life of the shed. Also, the colour is so FABULOUS that every time I open the shed door it will be like walking straight into a blazing hot, sunny summer’s day.

So, that was the easy part out of the way. Next I had to somehow transform all those colourful parts above into a solid structure using this:-shed 024

Hmmm … this might take a bit of thinking. Now, I’ve never had a problem building flat-packed furniture; bookcases and shelving units are a piece of cake; I even put together a wardrobe and chest of drawers quite easily. This, however, looked like it needed more than one pair of hands, so I figured “the more the merrier” and put the word out that there would be a shed party at my place on a certain afternoon with food and drink supplied for any keen builders, supervisors, instruction readers, ladder holders, drillers, hammerers or observers (weather permitting).

Today was that day; the sun shone, the kitchen was well-stocked with eats and drinks and right on cue my helpers started to arrive. Mandy and I set to work on emptying the shed; a steadfast toad was the last thing to leave and needed a fair bit of encouragement to do so. The demolition of the old shed was our first task and I think we both really enjoyed it. Then right on cue four more friends and colleagues arrived and we set to making a level base for the shed floor to sit on which took a lot longer than I’d anticipated, but as soon as that was done the drilling, screwing and hammering got underway. There were a few snags to be smoothed over and problems to be solved, but with three teachers of Design Technology in the work party it was all plain sailing. The last crew member arrived in time to help with the roof felt, door and window, then we popped a cork, toasted the shed and our team effort, and all sat down to an al fresco meal on the grass.

I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to my lovely friends Mandy, Brian, Ruth, Sheila, Lorna and Tommy for their hard work and good company; I couldn’t have done it without you. You are all brilliant! Here’s the afternoon in pictures  …. click to view larger  …


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