The Never-Ending Shed Story: Part One



Man holding drill and looking perplexed viewed from inside a partly constructed wooden shed


'January 1st, 2022: In bed, chinking coffee cups, we say- what will this year bring? We hope it’s a track and a toilet shed.'

Day 1: Our DIY shed kit having been scheduled for delivery on a day on which neither of us was working, we arrived at the land having barely finished our morning coffee.
Mr had pre-constructed a base, 10 feet by 8 feet, which we diligently levelled.
Then we waited.
We had a picnic lunch.
We napped in the dapples under an ash tree.
We had afternoon snacks. We wandered to survey the wild blooms, discovered an unexpected tomato plant.
Somewhere between 4 and 5pm the van arrived and was directed up to the shed site; the terse driver helped us unload, and then sped away to the next ‘place in the middle of nowhere.’
We stared at the heap of flimsy panels and knew that we were wrong to skimp and go for the good price and let ourselves be lulled by the internet write-up.
But perhaps we let our expectations run too far?
There’s one way to find out - start the adventure!
We put the floor panels down on the base- they did not fit flush with each other. There were nails sticking up. We hammered the nails, moved the panels around to get the best fit, and then realised that while the base was a perfect 10x8 feet, the floor was not. The base required some adjustment, and that must be done at home.
We were hot and tired, home was a welcome thought.
We will leave the big build for tomorrow, we said.
Day 2: The reconfigured base was a fine fit. We fixed down the floor, after deciphering tiny diagrammed instructions. Following these instructions, next we tackled the wall panels: they were of different heights. Not by much, just enough to make extra ventilation, at least that’s what we convinced ourselves.
While we worked-
Dog snoozed in the shade, or sauntered around our feet as though this was helpful.
A warm wind whispered through the brambles.
Blackberries sweetened in the hedgerows.
We heard buzzards call far up in the clear sky.
The air smelt of hot earth; we were constantly thirsty. Trekking to the tap was a steep walk. But we have wanted this shed for a long time, even if it isn’t the shed of our dreams, it is a meaningful progression. We knew we would make mistakes- how else to get things done, how else to learn?
It’s a shed and a metaphor now; it’s the poetry of throwing yourself beyond the comfort zone.
Getting the roof panels straight was definitely uncomfortable: physically, mentally, emotionally draining. We stopped halfway; the back two perched almost acceptably; as we had run out of patience and ideas, and had to get to Bude, and dig out the energy to teach two hours of Tae Kwon-Do, after which we went to the Sea Pool and swam off the day’s heat.
(Dog was left in the shade at home, with her cool mat to lie on and a large bowl of water, lest anyone should be concerned for her comfort.)

Day 3: Today we think we will get this done! Like we did the previous two days…
We did get the windows fitted, and refitted so they actually fit.
We did get the next two roof panels on, also not to our entire satisfaction but the gap in the middle was evenly spaced and we could work with that.
There were just the doors to go, and the roofing felt: but we were out of time and energy again.
Dog seemed happy with our work, though she mostly slept in the shade, oblivious to our headaches, occasionally snapping at a fly.
Day 4: I drove to St Austell for my usual care shift. It was a stuffy journey but so pleasant not to be balanced on a breeze block holding a roof panel.
Mr was at home waiting for our granddaughters to arrive.
This morning I dragged out bedding for the big sleepover and discovered that the water tank has been leaking for long enough to rot through a pile of blankets. One of those weeks, I say, and pile up what is salvageable to deal with later.
(This evening our granddaughters team up to make up their Grandad as a Slimy Mermaid before picking blackberries, toasting marshmallows, and turning into sharks. Granma also is treated to a makeover which reinvents her as a Disgusted Baker. Glitter everywhere!)
Two grandparents slathered in make up and glitter

Day 5: Another care shift for me, while Grandad and The Girls are scheduled to meet some ducks. We all still have glitter in our hair.
Day 6: Care shift for me- after coffee and Uno Flip in bed. Grandad and The Girls are off hot tubbing, before they are collected in time for him to go to work, and then go to the land to measure bits of shed.
The Shed that has been lurking in our heads; the unfinished flipping shed.
After work I stop for a sunset swim at Polkerris where the harbour wall is a smooth curve, and music and conversation drift from the pub out over the water, and even the gulls call softly.
Day 7: It was health-warning hot, so much so that we changed our land plans.
This was good in that an electrician appeared to begin a series of jobs that were started so long ago we had forgotten them, so while The Shed still loomed over our existence we had an almost electrically safe home. If electricity weren’t so expensive we would have plugged some devices in to celebrate.  To be continued! Possibly forever!
In which I, Lisa Southard, balance a man and a ladder on my head- or is it crafty camera angle trickery?

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