29 march 2013, the garden shed

Things were hard when I was a kid. We had an old run-down garage, which had absolutely everything stuffed inside, and also housed our old car, making driving it in every day a highly-specialised manoeuvre, and getting out afterwards all but impossible without knocking down stepladders, paint pots or bamboo canes. The garden was just as unruly, although something my dad always wanted, but could never quite afford, was a garden shed. I must have been about 10 when bernard, a friend of ours who my parents helped out (there were a lot of those), moved into heathlands old age people's home, and told us we could have his. He lived just a few hundred metres away on sheepfoot lane, which was much more well-to-do. Having somehow roped in our wonderful - and very handy - neighbour, leo, up the road we marched one day, tools in hand, and started disassembling it. No sooner were a few nails out than hard on our heels came my breathless sister with an urgent message from the estate agent to say no, leave it alone. Sighs of disappointment, and back we trudged, no shed ever to grace the corner that will forever be remembered as the most fertile compost heap in the world never to be used. And today, I am trying to rope my own kids into starting the gargantuan task of tidying out my own garage. We never put the car in it, but rather use it for everything under the sun we're not brave enough to pass on or throw away. Not for much longer though, as we're having it converted into a new room. And what of the bikes and the tools I salvaged from my own dad's garage collection, and still can't pass on ? Well, tomorrow sees the arrival of a most magnificent garden shed...

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