In the garden stands an old brick shed which I have been using as a log store. The front of the shed, which is open to the elements, looks south onto Salisbury Plain. From here we get sunlight in the evening and the prevailing wind whenever it is blowing. One wall has a window, the sill is rotten, it was until this afternoon over-run with ivy. Our greenhouse was built against another wall, and since we knocked it down, this wall has lurched a little out of kilter, and a deep crack has emerged in the brickwork. The clay pantiles on the roof are in pretty good nick, save the odd bird’s nest and a few missing at the back.
Resolution #2 is to strip down this shed and rebuild it so it is sound, and so I can use it as a writing room – somewhere that sits outside the life of the house, with a door I can lock against interference. I should be able to squeeze in a desk, a chair, a small wood burner and some shelves. I fancy plastering the walls and lining them with cork to which I can pin prompts, arresting photos and aide memoires. There will be drunken columns of favourite books. If I still smoked I’d keep a full ash tray and the place would smell of late nights and hard slogs across the desert. Perhaps I will allow myself the the odd cigar, just to give the place a bit of character …
I like the idea of glazing as much of the front as possible, and having a large rectangle window that in summer can be swung open on a side hinge, opening inwards in a grand arc full of early morning intent. Or one that opens on hinges in either side of the window, placed half way down the rectangle, so that the window opens forwards.
I also need electricity, maybe water? And what for the floor? It must be scruffy.
Today I covered the shed in tarpaulin. The tarpaulin is that ubiquitous blue that colours Mumbai, especially from the air. I want to stem the deterioration in the brick, and protect the roof timbers so I can re-use them. Come spring I plan to take off the tiles and the timbers and lower the brick walls to the last three feet or so. Or raze it if I have to. And then build it back again, replacing the side window, adding another side window opposite and glazing the front.
This is a project for the summer I anticipate with relish. Family lore has it I am bad at DIY; I had allowed this to deter me until now. Now is my chance to create a monument to my competence: to good hands, to patience, to the late developed habit of reading instructions.
Roll-on the dry summer and good building weather. In the meantime, those in the village who can see the roof of my shed will have to tolerate a blue blot on their landscape. And then some hammering. My apologies.