Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Today Was Start on the Shed Day

Shed interior: before
This is the shed as I inherited it in June. 7 months have gone by and so long as I had a square yard of space to keep the tools and me out of the rain, that was enough. But the plot was frozen this morning, my mountain of bricks all frosted together, so today was make a start on the shed day. It's actually in two parts. This is the left hand side, looking South, and is where I'll keep the tools, bits and pieces, and produce when I've got some. The right hand side still awaits tidying, but it is more open, and seems to have been a potting shed, which it will be again.

But today was the storage shed. Unbelievable amount of rubbish in it. It was looking very medieval, and I realised why archaeologists find stuff in the layers of detritus on the floors in old dwellings. Here they would have found plastic Lucozade bottles, flattened tins of Tennant's lager, and (gawd help us) electro-magnetic tape from an old reel-to-reel machine.  Plus a lot of rotted wood, earth, and paper shredded for bedding by mice.

To the left of the picture above is an old internal door which was once holding the office of bench. It was sagging comically, and fell apart when I tried to move it, scattering a chalky substance from its interior over the floor.  Any hopes that the shed might prove to be some sort of Aladdin's Cave of old gardening gear were imperfectly realized. There was an old rake with extra long handle, and old fashioned large pointed spade, and a 7ft roll of translucent polythene. And those two folding chairs you can see on the left,  the wee table to the right, and a really beautiful old iron door handle.

Here it is a couple of hours later, somewhat more shed-like:

Shed interior: after
Not exactly a bijou dwelling place, but then it IS a shed, on an allotment, I'm not planning to live there any time in the foreseeable. As you can see, there are planks missing from the wall at the back. That whole side needs replaced, it's all rotten. The left hand wall there is made of two solid, old-fashioned doors, still with their original paint work. Probably from a sturdy Victorian tenement, and they should last another century if creosoted. The roof's pretty good, made of 6x1in planks. Most of them are fine, though 2 have rotted where the layers above them, (tin sheeting, topped by some kind of rubbery material) have leaked. So I'll need to lift and remove or repair the upper layers, and the rotten planks. 

The floor is still medieval: two more Victorian doors laid on the earth, but these have rotted away almost beyond recognition. I'm hoping I've enough bricks left to lay the floor in due course. The front consists of a heavy frame of glass - an old window frame, which I'd assumed for the last 7 months was part of the shed, but realised today was just propped against the door which was acting as a bench. There's the old door I use just to prop there too, I can hang that. But essentially just now, there's no front to the shed at all. 

When it's all patched up and repaired, I need to get down to it with a bucket or two of creosote, stop any more rot, and put off the mice when they return from their winter break, wherever that is - I was surprised not to encounter them this morning.