Saturday, 11 January 2014

"Something Nasty in the Woodshed"

For anyone who may not recognise the quote, it is from that most excellent classic by Stella Gibbons "Cold comfort farm".

In the past six years, the only time I've entered my garden shed has been to scoop some bird-seed from the huge bins in there, or to pick up a pair of secateurs.

It has held a massive collection of assorted garden and household tools, (John collected, though seldom used all manner of drills, hammers, screwdrivers, oils lotions and potions for every known household need.) for the thirty or so years in which it has stood.

I do not paint, nor hammer things, nor do I insert screws, remove old ones, have no grip so never even attempt to use pincers.  Furthermore I do not saw anything ever.

The means to do all these and a million other chores have all been (hoarded) stored in the poor shed, along with old packets of seeds (and I mean old), flower pots of every size and material known to man, several small chests of nails, screws, tacks etc. sand-paper, tool chests (all full) and a store-load of other things which I cannot even identify.

In short, the shed was full, and since I never ventured into the dark corners for fear of what might be lurking among the curtains of webs, I needed to get some help.

Time to enlist my doughty landscape gardener, decorator, all-round handy and useful neighbour.

"Please empty the shed contents into the garage, banish any wildlife, clean out and paint with wood preservative the inside, remove roofing-felt (leaking), and replace with fresh I begged.  Further to that, take away every single thing not used for gardening, and use, give away or dispose of same"

His workforce ( a young man and a girl) did all of that yesterday, finishing by carting away half a life-time of junk and I now have a clean empty shed which will eventually regain its gardening 'stuff'.

It is not a beautiful job, the roofing could be neater, the green wood preservative inside the shed is patchy as it soaks into the wood, but Oh the relief.

I shall take my time, putting things back and will no doubt throw out more accumulated junk in the process, but as the weather is either wet or cold at present, the garage is now home to my much smaller hoard.

This has been hanging over my head for at least two years and my usual inertia prevented me from making the vital move.

No doubt many hundreds of pounds worth of tools etc have been evicted, but I am slowly beginning to realise that what I have not even looked at for 6 years or so is not going to be missed.

The biggest benefit of all is that I am no longer afraid to look into the corners because whatever might have been lurking, is no longer there.

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?  Well, me, but at least he's not in my shed.


  1. One day I must tackle the garage with all Max' tools, also the "Man's Room" with his desk with jottings from 40 years of growing. I hate the thought of throwing it out but know I must as the notes are incomprehensible to me and he is beyond that now.

    1. It must feel great to have it all cleaned out.

    2. I think it's saying "I must get round to doing so and so" that is part of the problem.
      For me, it was sudden exasperation at all the wasted space filled with (to me) useless clutter.
      A new year perhaps?
      Yes it does feel really good to know that I can start all over again when the energy and the weather will allow.

  2. Well done Ray - I am looking forward to doing a little more clearing of my mums stuff in the next few months. I know I will feel so much better once it is done x.

  3. You will Jane there is something cathartic about throwing things away and creating a vacuum.
    Endless possibilities (plus those little sharp 'reminders' we can all do without.
    More power to your elbow.

  4. I too love Cold Comfort farm…..and I hate doing out the outbuildings! Well done Ray!

  5. Brilliant bit of writing isn't it Jean? and still relevant.
    Now that the shed is clean and empty all I need is good enough weather to face sorting out the gardening stuff and putting it where I need it.
    Some day before the middle of June hopefully!

  6. This could have been written about our woodshed. Every spring I hopefully think about it - maybe this year will be the time it happens thanks to your inspiration. Blessings from Dalamory

  7. Somehow things are always easier to plan than to execute aren't they.
    Perhaps this time........

  8. Brilliant, Ray. I must show this post to DH, who is the world's champion hoarder of tools and stuff. it may inspire him to start sorting things out as he keeps promising me he will, though I won't hold my breath.:-)

  9. Good luck with that one Perpetua.

  10. I put my hands into the hens feed bin to scatter them some grain and pulled out a mouse. Not to put too fine a point on it he flew across the garden !

  11. .....and you're still alive to tell the tale/tail?
    I have been known to give spiders flying lessons, but mice!!!!

  12. What a great gardener you have. The recent winds blew the windows off my shed and I haven't bothered to get them replaced yet.

  13. Yes it is my good luck to have a near neighbour with the right skills, the right attitude and the time to spare. All I need now is an injection of energy to do the tidy up.