Monday, November 21, 2016

Farewell Old Shed, Hello Minimalist Allotmenteering

I just thought, I can't stand this old shed anymore. I don't like it. I don't like where it stands. I don't like the way the roof leaks. I don't like the way it's constructed piecemeal and yet manages to have none of the of the allotment charm such improvisation normally brings.

And the last straw, an email from the secretary to say that a fellow allotmenteer's shed was burned down last Sunday. The fire brigade were there for 2 hours, putting the blaze out. Right, I thought, if we're going to have a spate of arson, I don't want all my tools burned.

So I got down for a few hours and emptied it, putting all the tools and other odds and ends under a plastic sheet for now. Anything which can live outdoors, like the fruit netting and gutters for the water barrels I stacked up by the fence.  I took out a large window, being keen to use the double glazed pane in the new shed. As I removed it, the whole structure gave a sigh and collapsed in a single sinking motion, with a great thud. Someone on the allotments shouted "Hey!"

I was running out of time, having things to do at home, so was unable to sort through the heap of wood, sheets of tin and rubber sheeting which now lay in an orderly flat stack at my feet. But I did have a go, and found that the roof was incredibly heavy. I think The Predecessor must've kept adding to the roof, in unsuccessful efforts to keep it from leaking, and it's gotten really top heavy. Had a narrow escape, really, it could have collapsed when I was sheltering there from the rain - it was liable to go at any minute, like a house of cards.

On the way out I spoke to a group of the neighbours, who told me they'd shouted but then realized it was me collapsing the shed, not a group of amphetamine-maddened neds. I told them I was determined that if anyone was going to burn that bloody shed, it was going to be. So they told me the story.

The man whose sheds burned down wasn't a victim of vandals. It was some home grown error, to do with his stove, or something. He'd covered half, at least, of his plot with various structures, so that it became a kind of ramshackle house, and was apparently filled with all kinds of stuff, much of it flammable. I got talking to him last year, and was perplexed to learn that he had a telly and a generator in his hut. He's been there for years, building his sheds, and there they all were, gone, in 2 hours.