Every girl needs a shed.
I am typing this blog, for the very first time, in our new shed.
When I say ‘our’, I really mean ‘my’. His nibs will get to use it, of course, but I claim first dibs on decorating and furnishing it. It’s my girly girly girl cabin.
What I actually wanted was a caravan that I saw advertised on a local site – just 250 euros. My husband’s snobbery and flat refusal have resulted instead in our 2,500 euro ‘winter palace’ – a shed some 10.5m square, on its own concrete square with verandah.
It is – I must admit – a place of perfect contentment, tucked away down here at the bottom of the orchard, barely visible from the house even in winter, turning its back to the slope of our neighbour farmer’s hill. One side is hidden by the laurel hedge we put in as a windbreak, the other by the hedgerow line we planted some years ago.
Getting it built has been a bloody nightmare, with the builder hurting his back, the ground freezing, the inabiilty to hire plant because of the wheat sowing, the endless rain. It took the efforts of four builders, three farmers, a digger, a concrete mixer, a whacker plate, two tractors and ourselves just to get the base in, and five days after the DH and I assembled the actual structure (which went up easy-peasy, log cabin-style), we lost the bitumen roof in a storm.
But still, we can forget all that, now that’s it’s in, and it’s lovely.
There’s no floor in yet, nothing on the walls and no furnishings other than a couple of recliners and a drop-leaf table, but nevertheless, it’s the place in the garden that has become our daily destination.
From where I’m sitting, I look across the pond to the small deck, the nameless acer – now leafless – the Wedding Day rose covered with tiny red hips, and on, up the slope of the garden, under the pear tree, through the cherry thicket, and on to the piggery and upper barn, almost invisible through the trees.
The DH looks across all three ponds, to the willow hedge and the Paul’s Himalayan Musk, the Kiftsgate rose and the lower barn. And the bamboo clumps that will one day be groves 30ft high.
It is very private. There are birds singing all around me, and the comforting smell of the fir from which the building is made. The sun is traversing between the barn and the house, before it sets behind our lower barn. It’s remarkably warm inside, considering there is no heating or insulation.
I am absolutely in love with my shed, which is something I’ve wanted for years. A few years ago I bought a tent on Ebay and pitched that down here for the course of the summer, and it was brilliant. I came down every morning to do my yoga, opened up the zips and would find my (sadly now deceased) cat Lucy ensconced in one of the deckchairs. But this is even better.
I now have, of course, all sorts of plans for my shed, which is going to be beach house style. A thin white wash inside, open shelving with a table and hopefully a small cooking hob. Mineral water, biscuits and magazines; a big mirror to reflect the light; curtains for the doors and windows. The flooring will be autoclaved pine planks, which have to be ordered from Rennes, 90km away (but at half the price of local offerings), and my old Heal’s daybed will replace this teak recliner, with plenty of fleeces and duvets to cuddle up in.
We’ve already bought a rather scary-looking Tilley lamp and if, as we intend, we can replace the doors with glass ones in time, then we’ll also install a butane heater to make it cosy. In summer it will be our guest accommodation, and all year round, a shelter from the rain and cold, somewhere to work when the sun is too bright, and just a place to get away and enjoy nature.