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A Bad Situation (As In Making The Best Of...)

  • Sheddie:

    Erica Quinn
  • Location:

    My shed is currently comprised of two of the four bedrooms in my main door tenement flat. This pre-s - Glasgow
  • First entered:

  • Cost of shedbuild:

    More than £1000


In April 2018, we discovered a load-bearing wall in our main door flat has been flirting with catastrophic failure, very likely due to the Victorian equivalent of Cowboy Builders. The wall was stabilised with a comprehensive shoring array, earning my builder a gold star from the Glasgow city council building inspectors. Indeed, they commented that they had never before encountered such extensive shoring in an internal domestic environment. My builder mumbled something about being just a kitchen fitter and googling "Shoring for Dummies". Since then I am really pleased to report that everything is tickety-boo and the building continues to not collapse into Queen Margaret Drive. I dont think I could cope if my building collapsed AND (assuming the rubble of my kitchen would be evacuated all STAT!! like) I was instrumental in destroying the closest local purveyor of milk, sugar, tea, and Tunnocks Tea Cakes. Thats the canonical Trauma Biscuit here in Glasgow. I know this because they serve them at the recovery tables when you donate blood. I gave up trying to keep it tidy in January (around about the time the first structural engineer quit), and soon thereafter, decided to make the best of a Bad Situation. I moved all of my gardening kit out of the basement, set up a propagation station, and took full advantage of a warm and dry environment in a cold, wet, and miserable Glaswegian spring. Of course, I'm a total slob and the state of the shed is a near- perfect evidence for my claim that a shed is junk drawer of the garden. Everyone should have one, and no matter how organised your life may be, there is flotsam and jetsam of your existence which will only ever be found in a junk drawer, no matter where you left them last.

Other info

I really enjoy gardening in my adhoc shed! It's been a few years since I could last say that. My thirteen year old just about went mental when I suggested I was going to mail order a single seed of wacky tobacky... with all of my fingers and toes crossed that it'd slide right on by customs. I've got this absurd notion about successfully cultivating some sort of fancy-pants boutique Devil's Lettuce in my fabulous Ikea propagator. That picture in my mind's eye is washing my brain in neurotransmitters left over from my misspent youth. I am broody for bad life choices! I am a danger to myself and others! I dont even like pot! Ergo, my Hare-brained (yet madcap!) Shed-tastic competition entry. No one is going to conclude that this iteration of my shed was skilfully built. Its not a novelty (not wind and watertight, or even a clean, well lighted place for books), and certainly lacks in bells and whistles. Indeed, after the initial horror of acknowledging what exactly requires that sort of support to keep the structure in place, it is the antithesis of instagrammable. But, can you picture yourself in it? Can you come in and sit for awhile without some major reorganisation of the furniture? Are there still spots on the wall to hang your accumulated photos and memorabilia? Is there room in the bin for your empty biscuit packet? Did someone put the kettle on because they knew you were coming? For me, the best shed was not the one I wanted, it's the one I needed... appearing at the exact moment it was required, and already contains a me- shaped-nest, feathered with accumulated wisdom and arcane pest control sorcery. It is a safe haven and cozy den, surrounded by a moat made of my wacky garden, separating me from the early 21st century psychic noise. In its past lives, my shed once lurked deep within the hanging gardens of Babylon, and still hides behind futuristic lawn earthworks in the Garden of Cosmic Speculation. It leans gently against the melon houses, near the pineapple beds in the Lost Gardens of Heligan. From the concrete sculptures being reclaimed by the forest in Las Pozas, to the ancient Pueblan photo- permaculture waffle gardens being reclaimed by the desert, to the Svalbard Global Seed Bank being inexorably released from the permafrost in a puff of methane and anthrax spores& in all of these contexts, my ur-shed abides. I'd even argue that the notion of Shedis a short of narrative shorthand for a refuge that contains the makings of milky tea. My inner cartographer is desperate to label it "You Are Here", and even though we have not yet developed A Quantum Shed, it delights me to imagine my shed is a portal or pocket universe. Outside of the shed, youre in your allotment or back garden or high-end shed and summerhouse showroom. However, if you step through the door, you find yourself in SHED-LANDIA. You know thats where you are because of the nagging comic sans sign telling you to shut the damn door and sign up for the milk rota. It's a public private space, like the front steps of a brownstone in New York, or a wrap- around porch, or a communal laundry room. It is a crucible for horticultural aspirations, realised or not. You can be a slob and put nails in the walls wherever you want, and there's no need to take your boots off. It is a place of communion and shared experiences, as well as a retreat. Its a place where you can sit around, shoot the breeze, joke about The First Rule of Shed Club, and no one laughs at you when you decide (on some otherwise nondescript overcast Thursday) that youd prefer people now call you the "The Slug Whisperer". Ask me how I know...

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