Shed Talk

There is a time in every man’s life when a shed becomes an important necessity to the family home. During your twenties, a shed is as far from your bucket list of needed items as tweed jackets or pipe and slippers, but come your thirtieth birthday, suddenly the focus of all your desires becomes a shed. Whether this be due to the nature of the home becoming increasingly crowded as the children grow, thereby cramping your style within the four walls, or just needing your own space to contemplate the next DIY home improvement project, a shed in the garden is the place to go. A ‘man cave’, with manly implements contained therein. Where the redolent aroma of lurking compost fills the air and where creosote cans have preserved themselves from time immemorial……

The shed is full of manly items that I can’t bring myself to dispose of, not yet at least. But those who have ventured forth into the dark recesses of the shed will be able to testify to the fact that most, if not all the manly tools contained therein are rather blunt, from heavy and prolonged manly usage of course. To be fair, if H (International Model & Jet Setter Extraordinaire), went to the shed to investigate its contents, she would be the sharpest tool there, by far!  H can always be relied on to impart words of wisdom and encouragement when all those around her are waving helplessly the white flag of surrender.

H is coming home for Easter.

I can hear your collective gasps from here! I played Chris Rea ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ to see if this improved my sense of impending doom. Please don’t get me wrong, the family love seeing H, for a few hours at a time, so you can imagine how much we are looking forward to the coming four days over this weekend……

After dinner speaking has often given me the opportunity of asking if anyone knows my daughter H, which is always responded to by various chaps with an “I wish!H has given us all so much over the years and many have asked me to write these stories down to save them for posterity, so she will feature from time to time as they are recalled to my mind, from the vantage point of the shed.

H was about 14 years old, G was 11 and A was 7. We were out for a Sunday afternoon drive through the Kent countryside when we drove past a farm advertising on a little chalk board, eggs for sale……. A dozen eggs for £2.00……    G (tallest tribe member) simply asked H “how many are in a dozen?” She witheringly replied, “how should I know, we haven’t done chickens at school yet!”  A (always ready with the sarcasm) thought this would be a good time to ask her “how many are in a Baker’s dozen……?” which is when the fight started!  Or the time when taking le tunnel sous la manche, she asked innocently whether when we arrived at the other side in France, “will James and Charlie, on Heart FM, speak in French………?

H has in the past often come home from London or Paris or New York or wherever she happened to be in the world to look after the younger members of the family while Matron and I attend dinner dances, Ladies Nights and other fundraising events. It’s not that the younger children need looking after, just that to avoid receiving the ‘Bad Parent of the Year Award’ yet again, H would be the ‘responsible adult’ at home in our absence. Heaven help us all.

You will understand of course that it’s not her fault that leaving a half-eaten Chinese takeaway dinner on the side in the kitchen would entice the cat to eat it, go upstairs and throw up on the new landing carpet so that the dog could eat it, resulting in M (her who shall be obeyed) coming home at 1am in her finest apparel, being left to scrub an orange stain that has mysteriously appeared on the carpet in our absence. Not H’s fault at all……

On another occasion, when M and I came home to find that the children, having cooked marshmallows on the gas hob and blown out the ring (which kept pumping out gas due to a fault that has since been rectified by removal of said hob and installation of an electric one instead), had gone to bed, while the house filled with gas. On entering and recoiling in horror at the stench, we cut a smart dash through the gas filled house, being careful not to turn on the lights or do anything that might cause a spark, turned off the gas, opened all the windows and hurried to see if the children were OK. They were, as the new carpet was so plump and their doors shut, that they had all failed to notice the build up of the noxious fumes outside their bedroom doors. I asked H, if she had come out of her room and smelled the gas, how would she have determined which ring she had left on, to which she replied “I’d have pressed the ignition button!

You can appreciate why there are some people you’re just glad to see the back of!

H is coming home for Easter.Joy is unconfined, (they’ve let her out again!)” I’ll be in the padded cell down the shed if you need me……

Carry on regardless!

DJ

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