Apparently sales of sheds are soaring but what on earth goes on behind the ivy clad doors? Andy Sturgeon investigates
Generally speaking sheds are a male domain and following extensive scientific research I have been able to fabricate 7 stereotypes of owners and their sheds. You will probably recognize someone you know and maybe even yourself.
Your name is Justin, Justin Case and you are a DIY fanatic who never throws anything away. Stacked against the wall are offcuts of wood from every project you’ve ever undertaken around the house. You keep old paint tins, scraps of carpet, bits of wire and broken spades because you never know when they might come in handy. If there was a sudden shortage of blunt drill bits and old plugs you would be able to solve the crisis single handedly in minutes. You spend a lot of time in here which pleases your wife because it keeps you out of the house but she can still keep an eye on you. Most of the time you are looking for things because you’re not quite sure where they are but you know they’re here somewhere and they usually are.
You are the man with immaculate tools. Your shed is very, very tidy. Tidier probably than most peoples’ homes, there’s a place for everything and everything is in its place. You own every type of tool there is and draw the outline of each one onto the wall so that it can’t accidentally be hung in the wrong space. You also collect everything in jars; every size of screw and nail imaginable and even funny shaped bits of metal that you’ve had so long you’ve forgotten what they are. Everything is neatly colour-coded, labeled and kept in ascending order of size. You spend a lot of time in here pottering about, sharpening tools, sorting stuff out and peering at things with your glasses perched on the end of your nose. You creosote the outside rather more often than is strictly necessary and get twitchy if anybody else ever goes in there. You keep your shed firmly locked and own a Jack Russell.
You live in Kensington or Chelsea and your brand new orangey brown shed is where you keep the cream canvas parasol, overwinter the teak garden chairs and store the never used garden tools which you got for a wedding present. You probably have a gardener but don’t really like him coming in here, after all, he should bring his own tools because you pay him enough. If you’ve tired of London and moved to the country you probably keep the ride on mower in here as well. You have plans to convert your shed into a beach hut by painting it blue, just like the one you saw on Ground Force.
Legionnaire’s shed. (British rather than French Foreign that is). This is usually on your allotment. You probably spend rather more time in here than you do actually gardening. There’s not much space inside and at first glance it seems disorganized and unkempt but on closer inspection everything seems to have a place. There’s a shelf overflowing with ancient chemicals and old but well kept tools hang everywhere. You often listen to the wireless which is in fact an old Roberts Radio. On the bench there’s a copy of the Daily Mail and a flask of tea, but in the drawer there’s a bottle of the good stuff. The most important thing is space for your chair and maybe for the fold up one hanging on the wall just in case you have a guest with whom to exchange war stories. You normally tell the one about how you lost your finger tips in 1944.
You are an aspiring writer or artist. Your ‘studio’ started off as an ordinary shed but you have adapted it specially for your hobby. There are now bigger windows than normal to afford a good view of the garden and to let in more daylight. There is at least one battered but comfortable upholstered chair and there is an old rug on the floor. You have installed electricity to power lights, a heater and a word processor. You have been writing a novel for nearly four years but haven’t shown it to anyone yet and you wish you were Geoffrey Archer but don’t dare to admit it. Most of the time you read other peoples books or sit staring out of the window planning new planting schemes for the borders. This is basically your sanctuary. Unusually for a shed fanatic you may even be a woman.
You are nine and this used to be your dad’s shed but now you’ve taken it over. What does he want with all this junk anyway? In any case it’s well out of the way at the bottom of the garden next to the compost heap and you’re sure he wouldn’t mind even if he knew you’d made a camp in here. Your Mother on the other hand would probably be far less sympathetic if she knew your twelve year old brother had moved his Guinea pig in here. If you are a girl you have probably twisted your dad round your little finger, persuaded him to move all his junk elsewhere and painted the inside pink. The painting will have been done very badly and will never be entirely finished.
You are something of a green fingered entrepreneur. With the help of artificial lights and an inordinate amount of tin foil you explore the possibilities of hydroponics. Most of the time you barely know where the garden is, never mind the shed.
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