Who’s in your shed?

It’s my own space and entry is by invitation only

Last New Years Eve, in torrential rain, three of us took the van, and we emptied and dismantled my beloved green shed from my ex-allotment plot

The grass beneath us had become mud, so the wheels pun and spun, until we improvised with boards borrowed from a neighbouring plot and brought the shed pieces back to the house, where we dumped them on the lawn, all of us exhausted and achingshed allotment.jpg

These pieces lay there until July (for various reasons, not all entirely connected with idleness – we’ve had a lot to do this year) when it was assigned a new colour and identity, not as a storage area but as a smart and defined, if small, workspace for me

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When we first assembled it some years back we were shed virgins so we closely followed the instructions, and it took a whole day. This time around the instructions were long since discarded, and Baz and I free-styled it in no time before heading to the pub to celebrate our success

We had cleaned the mud off the interior and I painted the inside with various bits of leftover paint so that it doesn’t feel like a sauna. I re-used my faded curtains and splashed out on a funky floor paint (‘Primrose Hill’ by Mylands) which will keep it cheerful through the winter. Oh, and I might just squirrel a bottle of my sloe gin somewhere…

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Since it arrived the space feels bigger, as if the whole garden has been waiting for this shed to turn up. The new colour sets off the lavenders and the gorgeous old nameless pink rose, which often flowers vigorously into DecemberIMG_0018

It’s not a big shed, but I’ve installed a solar light, shelves and hanging space. There’s even a shed alarm, although only a fellow lunatic with a fetish for steel wool would ever break in here (yes, you know who you are) and I am already enjoying the space

Entrance is strictly by invitation only, and my first visitors apart from the bugs (of which there are already many) are two of the set of six 1930s oak chairs I bought on Ebay. These two were wonky and needed repairs and have been glued and clamped. The whole set needs a good clean too, having been used for many years. It can be hard to see progress, so I took a picture of before and after to remind me of how worthwhile this process is and how much detail it reveals

The other visitor at the moment is the plucky little heater, ‘Stumpy’, which came to me with a limp. More of that in another post …

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I’m still moving in really, and there is plenty more that needs doing to the shed itself before the weather really kicks in, but I’m getting a feel for what the space allows and for which tools and basic supplies I actually need to keep in here in order to work properly

So that’s what/who is in my shed right now. What do you use your shed for? I’d love to hear

 

 

 

 

 

Drenched and Delicious

Strength and beauty in the wake of the storm

I just had to share these poppies I snapped on my phone this morning. Despite their delicacy they have survived last night’s torrential rainIMG_2728

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IMG_2749Some had folded over their silken petals IMG_2745 in an attempt to protect themselvesIMG_2736

IMG_2751The bees fed wellIMG_2756Next year’s legacy is assured

Soft As a Whisper

One loss and a near miss

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At just six days old the first cygnet of the three has vanished. The family had been doing so well – swimming and promenading each day along our riverbank, so it was a shock

Soon after realising this, C spotted one struggling frantically half way up the steep garden steps, where he must have slipped. The two adults and his sibling were at the top and the entire family were frantic, squawking loudly. Luckily, Baz was able to pick the little fella up, ignoring the aggressive threats of its parents a few feet away, and to place him near them before any cats could pick him off

IMG_9685We’re all very attached to them, but from previous experience we know how difficult it is for the parents to keep these little ones safe while they’re small, due to mink and other predators, and also presumably because of their natural curiosity

And in case you’re wondering, Baz said the little one felt wonderful, just as soft as he looks

A Feathered Nest

Who says swans are graceful?

It’s getting harder to mow the top lawn. It’s not so bad when the female swan is sitting on the eggs, but the male is very aggressive, and I decided to leave the bit nearest them

This morning we watched Mrs S get up from her beautifully soft nest, carefully turn and then cover the eggs. She stopped to take a drink from the ‘Miniature Heroes’ water container that the neighbours have thoughtfully  provided, and then advised Mr S that she was going to cool off and it was his turn to sit in the heatIMG_8892.JPG

At first he looked a bit surly. But she wasn’t stopping so he stomped over, resignedIMG_8891.JPG

He hesitated, looking at the nest

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He looked at me. I nearly backed offIMG_8896

He looked at the nest again. She made her break, waddling down to the riverIMG_8895

And then, in a very un-swanlike manoeuvre he sort of ‘flumped’ down over the eggs, arse in the air, and settled himself in. It was less than gracefulIMG_8910

Of course, he soon recovered his composure, and looked sereneIMG_8915

My neighbour tells me that swans, like dogs, cannot sweat. When they are hot they open their mouths and they pant. They have picked a particularly sunny spot to nest in, and I imagine that she really needed to cool off. I was tempted to join her…IMG_8901.JPG

 

 

The Peony Thieves

Treasure comes in many forms

I love the memories attached to plants. The wild garlic and primroses were taken from Mum’s last garden before she moved. The honeysuckle was a cutting from our elderly neighbours who are now long gone. The bird of paradise was grown from a seed my father in law gave me when C was just a baby, and the clematis against the shed was bought in flower on our wedding anniversary. The memories are all part of the beauty

A neighbour moved away and her bungalow was to be flattened for a big house to be built with what the plans referred to as a ‘grand room’ for the newcomers. People around here don’t want to live in bungalows. They want houses with grand rooms

The lady had lived there a long time and had kept a beautiful garden, so when the workmen went home one evening after showing no respect for the plants, my neighbours and I squeezed through the hoarding and onto the site for some guerrilla gardening

There was an herbaceous peony plant and a huge gnarly old tree peony. We took what we could, crept home and set about dividing up the spoils. It was fairly brutal, but we managed to split the tree peony into half a dozen potential plants and share them between us. As you can see, tree peonies, contrary to what the books say, can be successfully relocated.  Mine have been in this spot now for nearly ten years and they apparently thrive on the lack of care they receive. For a few years I was unconvinced that they were ‘performing’ and I gave them an ultimatum: either you knock my socks off or I dig you up

But I guess that did the trick, because now there are many tissue paper flowers, all as big as your head and they look wonderful under the pale spring blossoms IMG_8869.JPGAnd as a bonus, each year as the peonies come into bloom we are all reminded of that charming garden as it used to be, now just laid to lawn. And we re-live our daft little foray