Here is a strange admission; I have a weakness for sheds. Well, to be more precise, for building sheds.  I have five sheds in different places in my garden and I have built them all myself using wood that would otherwise have come to grief. There is a bicycle shed built out of wood from pallets, a shed for odds and ends built out of wood from skips, a wood store built out of a bits and pieces given to me by a neighbour, a shed for mowers and garden tools built out of wood salvaged from a demolition site and, my most ambitious project, an L shaped games shed made from building site hoardings. This shed easily accommodates a ping-pong table, an exercise bike and treadmill, a large wardrobe, miscellaneous arm chairs and other junk. It is a substantial building; my late father used to refer to it as ‘the village hall’.

I’m not sure why I find building sheds such an exciting activity.  Perhaps it is something to do with an unfulfilled frontier spirit. If I was on a desert island I’d immediately start gathering drift wood and in the unlikely event that I was ever a  guest on Desert Island Discs, my luxury object would have to be a hammer and lots of four and six inch nails.     

The ‘village hall’, built nearly 20 years ago, was an entirely opportunistic venture. One Friday afternoon I happened to drive past a building site where a multi-story car park was nearing completion. The construction work had gone on behind the usual eight foot high hoardings and, on this particular afternoon, the hoardings were coming down and the sections of 8×4 ply were being thrown into a giant, ungainly heap. On impulse, I stopped, found the foreman (Irish of course!) and asked him what was to become of the wood. He seemed surprised to be asked but explained that it was soon to be cleared from the site and that I could help myself to whatever I wanted over the weekend. I slipped him a £20 note and all that weekend made countless journeys with the hoarding sections stacked on the roof rack of an old Volvo estate.  Altogether I transported about 20 big sections and numerous other sheets of marine ply and bits and pieces of timber.

It took 6 months, working at weekends, to convert the hoardings into the ‘village hall’, complete with windows rescued from a skip, a front door from a nearby Edwardian house that was being demolished, and a roof lantern made with four surplus windows.  The whole shed cost a mere £20 for the hoardings and £160 for roof joists.  The only other expense was having the roof professionally felted. Appropriately, the shed is painted green.  

As befits a ‘village hall’, we had a garden party to celebrate its completion with a grand opening where a tape was cut, speeches made and glasses clinked.

If you would like to see a painting of the shed, click on Fundraising Watercolours and look at the painting called ‘My garden shed’.

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