The move that we recently made set my
mind thinking, it amazed me just how much essential junk that people can
The old saying that junk expands to
fill the space available is so true.
Most people have an emporium of essential things that just might come in handy,
for instance my Dad’s shed is legend amongst those who are lucky enough to know
My Dad is often approached by people who ask
“Dave have you got ‘so and so’ in your shed?”
Or conversations often find the solution
“Don’t worry Dave must have one in his shed.”
The lack of access to a ‘shed’ of my own was a very serious problem that I had
when I first left home. Where was the
drawer full of essential empty carrier bags or the empty jam jars that were
I then realised these things are acquired over many years and cannot be
purchased anywhere, although Lakeland come pretty close.
My mind started racing (a gentle jog more like).
Men seem to prefer cellars and sheds, these are places that hold useful things
that do not go well in a family house, however there are houses inhabited by
men that boast pieces of car engine in sinks.
Cellars are not places for the faint hearted, they are often dark, damp
dangerous places with very differing smells.
I remember as a child I was very wary of cellars but sheds were fine as
my Dad and granddad had them. Sheds are places that are readily available to
young children but cellars are places of mystery that are only inhabited by
adults and gremlins. My uncle Les had a
wonderful cellar full of tools for lorries of the past, he had been a mechanic
in the times when tools were not readily available, if you needed something,
you had to make it yourself. Alas as
time moved on, Imperial became af
then metric and the tools became useless.
But like so many ½ empty tins of paint and various other things that
were either too good to throw away or would come in handy one day, they
achieved some sort of immortality and lived on in the cellars of various
I realise now that I am not doing
proper justice to sheds, not only is there a shed in the garden but also there
is the gardening shed. I am not
completely familiar with this icon of English life but I understand that it
contains all kinds of garden tools, bags of compost and hosts of drying things
ready for next year. I hope to become
more knowledgeable about these things as I now have two in my new garden. We had a greenhouse as well, but I was so
phased by it’s rustic-ness, that we released it. It now lives happily with Karen’s dad.
Another repository for ‘junk’ is the attic, a common occurrence in Enid Blyton
stories and others of that ilk. After reading such books I demanded to know
where our attic was, had it been explored and
if so what treasure had been found.
Alas our house only had a loft and had nothing of interest in it. I was somewhat put out by this but I was to
visit my one and only attic soon.
At the end of our road was the doctor’s house, a large forbidding house and I
was a friend of his youngest son. This
house was a different world, they had an attic and a cellar. Both of which I visited but alas no
Men do not have it all their own way, Mums are more clever, they have many
places to accumulate
junk things that might come in useful, the recipe
books and cuttings that hold the secrets of many treats and delights. My nan possessed a cook book, so ancient,
that it had no gas or electric settings, it just said things like ‘build up the
fire’. But in it was the recipe for
‘reesoles’ (my nan was a master of getting words wrong, she meant rissoles) but
reesoles they were and always will be.
We have tried to recreate the wonders of reesoles but like Merlin’s
spell book only the master can create.
Bread Pudding, is a thing of great mystery, there is
no recipe, every mum learned it from their Mum. The only certainty about it is that whoever makes it says “it’s
not as good as my Mum’s.”
Another wonder that can not be bought but must be lovingly created is the button
tin. In this are held such wonders. My
Mum’s holds three red ladybird shaped
buttons from a dressing-gown that I had when I was about 4 years old. The things in this box are not necessarily
to be reused but hold a much more magical and psychological purpose. The tin can be used by harassed mothers to
quiet rowdy kids, when asked where is ‘so and so’? She can reply “look in the button tin” she knows they will be
gone for ages. Another use of this tin
is a party game, ’who can remember which garment did this button come off of?’
The button tin game can be played by adults as well, after all who else would
know what a single suspender was?
I gained possession of my great grandmother’s tin after her demise. I spent
ages going through it, my Mum even remembered some of the buttons. The only
thing that I kept was a 5 pfennig coin (my great grandfather must have bought
it back from France in WW1), it had no use or value but was too precious for
her to throw away.
Garages are another place where ‘one-day’ useful items are kept, some unusual
people use them solely for storing their cars but I understand that this is
rare. I have been told that they are
excellent for storing home-made beers and wines. Again ½ empty tins of paint
and part used rolls of wallpaper are favourites for the garage owner.
I have little experience of garages, we were too poor down our street to have
them (except for the Dr’s house).
Needlework boxes and bags of old wool are other fine places to keep
precious items, I could continue ad
nauseum about these things but I intend to quit while I’m ahead.
But as I relate these tales a new phenomenon is arising, now that we have
become ‘middle-class’ we possess a utility-room. It is of fiendish design, it has a sink, a worktop, a catflap, a
freezer and potential for so much more. This could become a ‘female’ shed as
Karen has more input to it than I (my only input is 2 boxes of old LPs,
perfectly preserved that are soon to go into the loft. Don’t worry there will be no treasure there.)
The utility-room is acquiring a life of its own, it is already growing shelves
of things that are of vital importance.
Karen tells me that it will be very useful in the future for items too
precious to be left outside in the shed.
Whether it be a shed, needlework box or
garage wonderful things appear from them and things that appear beyond hope
somehow get the ‘Lazarus’ treatment and
I am often envious of people that create,
I’ve been a wheelchair user for about 13 years and have no ‘shed’. Then it occurred to me, my head has all the
attributes of a ‘shed’. It has things
stored away neatly in places that can be readily accessed and a pile of ‘junk’
in which sometimes I find things of use.
But only rarely do I find things of pith and import though.
Has it ever occurred to you that
ancient burial mounds and pyramids are really super sheds or cellars?
‘I’m sure there’s one in here somewhere’ Edmunds
I now have a shed and garage which are far to 'new and stuffy' to carry
any age old memories ..................or so I thought.
While rumaging around in the corner of the shed last week I opened an
old box only to find some of Les's old tools (imperial sizes).
There, was the hammer with a shortened handle, to fit in the gap, of the
compartment and tap the blah blah blah.
Along side the hammer was the spanner with a customised 's' shape bend
in it to slide between the wotsit and tighten the dubree.
By far the most amusing was the block of wood with home made saw cuts
in it at 45 degree angles. This was used to mitre two bits of wood together at
an angle . Foolishly I tried to use it after all these years .
Perhaps back then 45 degrees meant 'near as damit' for I have seen
catholics and protestants that are closer than my two bits of wood.
Im sure Les would be smirking with 'fag' at side of mouth !