Balnacra Arts & Pottery by Vicky Stonebridge

A tale of two sheds.

What is it about sheds?  I’ve been ‘sorting my life out’ of late. The latest project is THE SHED.
When I moved to this house in 2001 there was a shed here which was starting to rot a little, but it did the job and held bikes and junk, the floor was always too full of holes to ever really use it for doing things in, but then it really started to slump…

So i saved up and bought a cheap replacement shed, a flat-pack, paper thin job, transferred all the junk, got the electricity disconnected from the old shed. November 2010, I thought i better do something about removing it. Problem was that it was rotting from the ground up, the roof was quite heavy, but I didn’t have the right sort of tools for anything systematic. Just a claw hammer and saw, basically.

Then a neighbour friend offered me her old shed that she was replacing.

it wasn’t in bad nick, some of the smaller bits broke when we took it to bits & would need patching, I still had a van then so we piled it on the roof with help from another neighbour, then unloaded the pile at the top of my garden. With a view to getting some help and moving it somewhere dry before…. and then it snowed. The shed lay forlornly in parts under the snow for weeks. Eventually come the spring I managed to drag, roll, heave and woman handle the bits to stack by the house, unfortunately further damaging the edges in the process. The shedless space sat gathering weeds and bugging me, but i just never seemed to have any time. Until this Thursday afternoon, sitting out for a wee t-break i thought i’d maybe position a few blocks and start thinking about putting in the floor. I wasn’t sure how i’d manage the walls myself, thought i’d sort of see how heavy they were and footer about to work out a system… well once i’d got one wall there, i thought i’d maybe try another one to stop the first one falling down.

Now the back wall was the heaviest, and the bottom timbers had rotten, but i didn’t have any sort of scrap wood to patch it effectively prior to putting it up, so i thought i’d stick it up & worry about that later. Then the wind started getting up. The cat decided he was hungry, the phone kept ringing, customer service ? really ? NOW? There was a dodgy moment when i was stood there holding it all up, trying to reach a bit of wood for a prop with my toe, or hoping someone would walk past who could come and help, wondering how bad it would hurt if it all fell on top of me.

each wall fitted less and less, the bodge factor was snowballing, but the wind was getting up & i was committed to trying to stablise the thing before going to Fire training that night. There wasn’t a right angle to be had. Wall four was in a sorry state, flimsier than the others due to the window frames, and with the whole bottom bit of wood missing, it really really didn’t want to fit.

As i hammered heaved and thumped it into sort of the best place i could, i was starting to wonder just what on earth i was doing, the whole thing rocking and swaying, making me sea sick, hammering it felt like it would shatter at any moment, my cordless drill battery had run out, i didn’t have screws or nails the right size. What a stupid idea! and how on earth was i going to get the heavy roof on by myself.
off to training I went, and hurrah!  some lovely crew mates volunteered to come and lift the roof on after work.  Sadly no photos of 5 firemen in uniform  in roof lifting action at 9.30pm. The roof really didn’t fit the wonky shed,  but the boys brute forced it into place.
Next step after a days teaching on Friday was to start the belt and braces patchwork mission, still doubtful as to the sense of proceeding with the project. Hammer in hand…

now my tin of expandable foam was 12 years old, so a little lacking in pressure, and once you crack one of those, its got to all get used up, one go is all i had. But this day there was no wind, there was instead the most terrible midges- for any readers who have never met the scottish midge, they are why we don’t eat all fresco, why we don’t have BBQ’s, why we don’t leave windows open. In the summer months, when it is overcast and still this tiny weensy bloodsuckers are a NIGHTMARE. The trick is to keep moving, have a hand free to wipe them off before they bite, have all your skin covered up and hold your breath ( they are attracted by the Carbon Dioxide that we breathe out ). None of which is possible when slowly slowly coaxing noxious sticky foam out of a nozzle, and thats how i got completely covered in midge bites to allergic wheeze levels and expanding foam gumming up my eye lid and lashes.
However…. the shed was now coming together!

a wee coat of white wash on the inside ( tin of paint found in skip – every expense spared ! ).
then today, a wee slapping on of some black paint on outside

oh happy Shed! No more shall my bike rust away, No more shall my tools lie hidden in boxes, no more shall i pot up plants in random outside places.  I need to find/ make a length of gutter pipe,  put on some fresh roof felt, and stick shelves/ hooks/ nails on the inside, get some gravel around it & pretty rocks,  but its already been a useful & compelling workspace to go and hide in.
Now the next challenge is….

Aye the next build is going to be a greenhouse, made out of a collection of random old windows ( rather heavy some of them! ) and bits of fencing, My tomatoes are taking over the living room so i need to get on with this one ! Nay bother.
Stay tuned for the next thrilling installment of  ‘One woman and a Hammer’ and yes, it IS a feminist issue. ” Don’t tell me what i can’t do ! “


One comment on “A tale of two sheds.

  1. Larry Wood
    June 11, 2012

    Nice one.. I like your idea of transforming it… and I am impressed with your perseverance and patience….

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This entry was posted on June 11, 2012 by in Blog and tagged , .

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