Here on Pig Row we are like a machine, not a well oiled machine or even like a steam powered tractor and our parts definitely seize up every now and again. We are the kind of machine that is loved, and is forgotten about for forty years in the back of a garage only to be discovered and sold to enthusiasts for hobbies they carry out in sheds. My wife now has such a shed. The mammoth project to build an eight by twelve foot shed has come to an end. I’d like to write there were cheers; that crowds formed on our hillside garden, breaths bated, fingers crossed, flags clutched in sweating hands, ready for the second we put down our tools so that they could erupt in a flurry of patriotism for shed building. The reality I know is more subdued, the final felt tack was driven home, we all stood back and we all dropped our tools. The wife dropped a hammer on my foot, a long line of things dropped on my foot during this project, there was some swearing but this was muted alongside mutterings of ‘we’re never doing that again’. To make sure that this is known to everyone in the shed building world, I commanded to write about it, to put ‘we’re never doing it again’ it in black and white so that everyone can read it and if I ever do build another shed can be pulled up over it. Therefore, I WILL NEVER BUILD ANOTHER SHED EVER AGAIN (neither will my wife). I will get someone else in; I will get a man with a van, a woman with a drill and a crew with a cuppa. I will willingly pay anyone else to build a shed for me. In the last two years I have constructed one greenhouse and two sheds, that is my lot, I can build no more.
Frankly, if this one fell over it would be a miracle, the base it a foot thick in parts and even when it rained the following day, the rain thought twice before dripping through the open windows. The shed built by me, my wife and my father in law is hard, you do not annoy it, blow on it, whistle a delightful ditty by it, sneeze on it or even rain on it. We all now have respect for this shed, if we didn’t it would fall on us, then get back up, settle back down on the concrete base and blow raspberries at us as we limped away. I’ve not gone mad but I do now believe that every shed has a personality. Since my wife’s office has been built my utility shed has huddled down next to fence whimpering. This was a shed that up to now has attacked me with rogue gardening tools, the comedy rake in the face followed by muttered four letter words from me has happened. Since the bigger shed was put up, my utility shed has behaved itself, it has been downright courteous, it has been like a spaniel in long grass called back to the picnic blanket with the promise of sausages. Nothing attacks me when I open the door. Stranger still, messes left for cleaning later; the mud covered fork, the stacked plant pots for cleaning and the tangle of pea nets all seem to be tidied up each time I open the utility shed. It is as if the shed is begging small birds and other woodland mammals to come in and clean up after me but pleads with them not to sing any animated tunes that would be at home on the big screen as the big shed up the hill may hear them, may roll down on them all mid chorus, ‘We love to clean pots, we love to clean forks with a flick of the tail’...splat, squish, grinding of furry things into the ground. I bet if Snow White came to my garden and pulled any of her tricks she’d be part of my wife’s shed base in seconds.
Even as I pass this new hard as nails shed to go to the orchard, it growls and I doff my flat cap and promise it that the new garden by it will soon be finished. This new project garden up to now has been a building site, a place to mix concrete, a place to stack the shed. It is now a place to build an altar and all hail the coming of the final shed.
There will be no more sheds at Pig Row, my proposed shed in the orchard has been scrapped, I’m going to write by the fireplace or at worst under an umbrella at the top of the garden wrapped in several layers of camouflage netting. I’d be too afraid to build another shed anywhere near this one. It knows our names and it definitely knows were we live.