Emailed – 25.08.2014
So I have become TOTALLY OBSESSED with pimping my man-shed. I am spending WAY too much time and money on it, and have NO intention of stopping. So there. Hello by the way…..
It all started exactly a year today – my 40th birthday. My wife bought me a ‘summer house’ which is probably a bit of grandiose term dreamed up by some marketing gimp at the shed shop. Essentially they added a couple of extra windows to their shed range and re-branded them with fancy names like ‘The Devon’ and ‘The Royale’. Don’t misunderstand, I love my man-shed and am eternally grateful for it – but let’s call a shed a shed fo shizzle.
My man-shed is my retreat; my escape from the pressures of family life. It may well be at the bottom of the garden, opposite the actual shed (which is significantly bigger) but in my feeble mind, it’s situated slap bang in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales. There are sheep grazing in the distance, cows mooing happily as they trudge, and real ale streams with Hovis bridges and Pontefract cake kissing gates. In short, I am at home in my 5×5 wooden dreamboat. By e’ck.
The plan is this.
2. Vapour barrier
3. Tongue and Groove cladding
4. Secondary glazing
5. Thermal curtains.
7. Water butt
You may think all that is a bit OTT for a 5×5 shed at the bottom of the garden, designed to be inhabited on sunny days, however over the past year I have used M.S. everyday for either a spot of meditation, a spot of mastur self-reflection, some reading, lots of writing and more generally, avoiding, hiding and seething. Oh and some top dollar sulking.
Last year through the depths of winter I could be found in there, with two coats on; hat, gloves and scarf, drinking tea and keeping busy by the light of a solitary candle. F.Y.I trying to type with mittens on a small keyboard, is a akin to syringing gloopy custard up a frogs bottom. Word.
So this year, my dream it to sit 20-feet away from my house (and everyone else) in my underpants, with my thermal curtains drawn, watching films on Netflix with my new M.S. WiFi. It is a simple dream, but a worthy one. Every man should have a purpose, and this is mine. Amen.
With all this nonsense in mind, I need ‘stuff’ – raw materials and POWER TOOLS. Due to a quirk of my life, I found myself eligible for a Selco trade card (Selco being a trade store for the building trade). I am officially eligible, however I still feel a bit naughty, as I suspect my account is on the edges of acceptability, however I’m in!
As I pulled into the car park of Selco and sandwiched my people carrier between all the builders vans, I was feeling nervous. Sure I was wearing my DIY clothes and carrying a tape measure and thus looked the part, but I felt like an imposter. A white collar amongst the blue. As I dragged my trolley behind me (DIY trolleys are designed to be dragged not pushed FYI – you’re welcome) I felt uber-conspicuous. I was certain everyone was looking at me and could see through my disguise. Rough, unshaven men bereft of O’levels and hygiene rules, eyed me suspiciously as they swore on by. THIS is how I knew I was in a trade store – EVERYONE was swearing. EVEN the staff. I heard this encounter between two members of staff stood furiously by a ripped bag of sand, as I walked nonchalantly down the aisle
A – ” My fingers went straight ********through it”
B – ” What a ****”
A – ” Better get a ******** brush”
B – “******* just leave it – come on”
After a while however I acclimatised and the actor in me found his feet. I casually measured wood and sucked air through my teeth. I compared the length of wood screws, had a go on a mitre saw and said the F-word more than was necessary under my breath. I think I may retrain as a builder. And then this happened….
I wanted to price up feather board to compare it to t&g by the metre, so I headed outside to the garden bit. As I exited, I was taken aback by the bright sun. It was a warm day. It was a good day. I felt masterful. As I dragged my trolley of 12 slabs of Jablite insulation behind me, I have to admit to allowing myself a bit of a swagger. There were a lot more staff outside than inside and I felt I needed a ‘builders walk’ just to re-assure everyone that I was perfectly entitled to be there. My chest may have puffed up a little, to inflate above it’s slender 36″ normality.
As I perused the wood, slabs and gravel, a very big man, dressed in a Selco uniform came over to me and spoke. He was MASSIVE and spoke to me much like you would to a little girl who had lost her mummy…
Him – Hi – are you okay?
Me: (builders voice) Yes mate – just browsing
(BROWSING! – what a ******)
Him: It’s just that you’re not really supposed to be out here. This is the loading bay.
As I looked around, everything fell into place. (Except my bottom – that fell off). All of the staff were engaged in behind the scenes activities I now realised. Ripping the plastic off pallets, fork-lifting heavy loads, and generally unpacking stock. I WONDERED why there were no prices on anything out here!
I apologised in a falsetto pitch that surprised even me by it’s femininity, and headed back the way I came. Or I TRIED to head back the way I’d come, but turning a D.I.Y trolley in a full circle is hard yo! They are designed to go in straight lines – like up and down aisles. Mr BIG MAN stood patiently by (bless him) as I attempted a 153 point turn on rough uneven ground. I looked a lot like my mother looks trying to reverse park her car. I felt the eyes of the world upon me. I was in a world of pain. I think Selco ground to a halt to watch my performance….
After what seemed like three quarters of an hour of me edging forwards and backwards BUT NOT REALLY ********* TURNING, Mr BIG MAN asked If I’d like a hand. I curtseyed and nodded coyly. He lifted up my trolley and plonked it down in the right direction, a bit like I do with my daughter’s play pushchair when she gets it stuck in the bushes and bursts into tears. I thanked him once again, straightened my bonnet and with a swish of my petticoat, I skipped off to go play D.I.Y inside.
Maybe I’m more of a Homebase kinda guy?
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