My first real shed was a flatpack affair at the bottom of the garden. I lined it with polystyrene covered in thin ply and moved in with my desk and a huge Dell computer with a 9″ screen. The machine produced green flourescent text on a black background which shimmered as if it was underwater. I learned to write in this shed, creeping down the garden in the wintry dark before the family was awake. There was a damson tree overhead and in the autumn I could hear the fruit landing on the roof and rolling down the green felt.
The next shed was different. New house, new garden. By now I was writing for television and could afford something more upmarket. It was still a shed but this one arrived on the back of a lorry ready to move in to. The road was duly closed while a huge crane backed down the lane and swung the shingled structure above the house and dropped it neatly in the garden. This shed was properly insulated. It had electric sockets and double glazing and cost about fifteen time more than the rickety structure I’d grown used to under the damson tree. But something was missing. It sat up primly on its blocks trying to pretend it wasn’t a shed at all but a garden office. When we moved on I left it without regret.
A real shed is a structure you can understand. Four walls and a roof. It fulfills the minimum conditions for providing shelter against the elements. It’s made of wood and can with any luck be constructed by one person with simple hand tools and a less than perfect grasp of basic carpentry. It makes no pretence to be permanent so the odd variation in height and squareness is entirely acceptable.
Armed with my shed building book I decided to start small. There is a spot tucked away at the bottom of the garden where the thing could easily be hidden if things didn’t work out quite the way I hoped. The book makes things sound relatively straightforward. So I cleared the site and ordered the wood. When it arrived there seemed altogether too much for one small shed. Never mind. I got out the saw and got started. You can see progress in the pictures below.
Three days in and I’ve reached eaves level with the frame. In the picture I drew before I started the shed looks quite modest. I’m beginning to think I should have used a smaller piece of paper.
And things have just got more tricky. I’ve made my first two roof trusses and despite using the same piece of wood as a template they’ve turned out different sizes. Time for a re-think.