A place of retreat styled on a cross between Thoreau's cabin by Walden Pond and an Austrian Alpine Hutte.
It is set by the Holy Brook which runs through Whiteway Colony and is based on a vintage chicken shed.
While lockdown currently prohibits foreign expeditions the Chicken Shed permits a taste of the Austrian Alpine experience.
It is based on a renovated chicken shed which is over 50 years old. A neighbour, now in his mid-seventies, remembers being employed in his youth by the local chicken farmer to clean out and creosote his extensive collection of sheds, all built to a similar design. They were sold off when the farmer closed his business, and many of my neighbours still have their own examples.
The woodwork remains in remarkably good condition despite its age. Only two of the original four solid iron wheels remain. This made the task of resurrecting the shed from its earth-bound confinement and moving it to its new position a real challenge.
This was achieved by a communal effort of willing friends. Since being placed in its new position by Holy Brook, a solid wood stove has been installed, along with a re-purposed double-glazed window with shutter; and the sky-light on one side had been increased in size. Kate Bush has been reinstalled into a position of prominence (though that is another story). The area around the shed has been landscaped and sown as a wild-flower meadow.
This is an attempt to reproduce a scene of an alpine barn which I photographed in Austria. The shed now displays a small Austrian flag symbol akin to those marking mountain footpaths used by the Austrian Alpine Club.
During the winter the shed was covered with snow and almost washed away by flood. The water flowed under the shed and rose to axle height. Thankfully it remained dry and secure.
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