I hae been watching new neighbours with great interest. They moved in last summer but as always, it took a while for them to settle in and feel that they belong. Part of this heeling in process has been to retrieve a lot of their pocessions from various lock ups and storage locations. As a family, they have moved around a bit – and have had homesin a variety of countries and continents. This has caused them to bring back various items that they couldn’t bear to part with once being repatriated. . . . So they engaged a company that deals with sheds for living proper lives out of. Not just storage. No, this shed is a multi functional affair – opens right out at the front to make the most of the daytime sun hours and good evenings. There is seating in the front area and lighting with kettle heating. This shed smells devine whenever we enter it. I get invited to ‘shed it’ regularly these days!
This is something to be said for having your own property with a garden and a garden shed can be very useful . . . . .I know of a sweet young mum who has been operating as a beautician above a local keep fit centre – they were subletting to her. She’s been there for over four years and until 9 months ago was content with her lot. Things changed when the young ladies below seemed to become less attentive to their business – it was never open at the originally advertised hours and their customers were beginning to get the hump. Then they dropped a bombshell by telling her to quit and remove her studio equipment with only one months notice. Big problems – she’s driving to client’s homes at the moment but she could well run her studio from a living shed structure in her back garden – they are heatable and can be plumbed. Obvously permission is needed from the appropriate planning dept. But this would be a wonderful solution to a major headache.
I had the pleasure of wandering around a very well known garden the other week. I was actually helping at the big house, acting as a room steward and visitor guide. The garden is famous in its own right, and partiularly so for its dahlia collection. Amid all the blooms were somewhat rickety old fences and bench seating – I think the theme was meant to reflect a forgotten era from the 1920s. What appealed to me as much as the floral displays behind the wonderful old greenhouses and peeking behind the walled garden were a fantastic selection of garden sheds. These looked as though they’d been there forever. These sheds were every shape and size – not manufactured in a smart factory – no these were made lovingly of planks of oak and other woods – two have really old., fragile windows and two had rudimentary thatched roofs. Perhaps a obby craft taken up but abandoned before anyone became expert!
Having a greenhouse gives me a sweaty anxious feeling – and tht perhaps anyone who knows I have one is going to expect me to produce tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and every other exotic vegetable. The truth be told, I am not a very good vegetable gardener. They need so much attention with constant watering and then feeding when the fruit arrives. There has been such a shortage of water lately that it could be time for all of us to reconsider our shoices for growing stuff in gardens. In the meantime, I do have a need to use a wonderful grden shed. the peace and solitude that this space offers me is quite wonderful. I do have space in the ouse, but my quiet zone and shut off space is that lovely wooden structurre down the garden – with my flask of coffee and deck chair. What more could I possibly need?!
I love going round the allotments near me. They are reall old, probably one of the first allotment associations in the country still run the operation like a tightly controlled army exercise. We used to have a half plot, but we didn’t rally make the most of it as it was in a heck of a state when we took it over for a grand £6.00 per annum. We couldn’t control the infestation of ghastly nightmare weeds and I didn’t particularly want to use harsh chemicals on a plot where I planned to sew salad and vegetable items. We struggled with the digging up of old materials and I damaged my right knee by overdoing the manual stuff. We did like having our own shed there though. Ours was very useful for sitting sipping tea; sipping morning coffee, eating lunch, chatting to neighbours – all at much the same level of ineptitude. We never handled much produce in it but would have done if we’d managed to grow any!
I have recently been involved in a volunteeering project at a large country house. Strangely it’s one that has not had an aristocractic family installed. Over the years since the very first house was built in 1618, ther have been only three families owning it. In these 400 years, there has been one major change – from being a rather attractive and very large looking tudor E shaped house, in the 1700s, to the palladian red brick splendour we see today. The current property is very attractive, small by normal stately home standards – but it does have the massive advantage of being set in a breath takingly peautiful landscape with excellent views from front and back. This inspired generations to make something spectacular of the gardens. Together with the victorian greenhouses are some fantastic working sheds. Some hold garden design courses and the others are now the Education centre for local students.
In these days of having to use every single scrap of space for housing and community living, it is no surprise that many families are running out of this precious commodity. The houses we have today are much brighter, more fitted, more comfortable but with growing families, they seem smaller than ever. I say this but when I was growing up and visiting grandparents, their house must have seemed very big to us but thinking back, remembering their awfully cramped scullery kitchen, and the absolutely tiny bathroom, it wasn’t at all palacial. Today’s families expect bigger and better all the time and new fitted kitchens are in fact bigger than the entire floor space of grandad’s house. This is where the amazing family shed makes an entrance – it is fantastic to be able to have a shed for living – relaxing, careers, hobbies, storage (!). A shed is for life’s supplementary luxuries.