We are still slowly clearing Dads house and the difficult decision has to be made… to sell or to rent.. we are procrastinating. Practicalities of life mean that neither my sister nor I can live there at the moment but we are both reluctant to part with this lovely house and all its memories. For me, it’s the garden I love so much, particularly the trees, old nameless varieties of apples, the fig tree, the huge and ancient box tree, the magnificent copper beech, the oak planted from an acorn by Dad, the weeping ash and the massive sycamore which stands by the gate. Most were there long before us and hopefully will be there long after us….
In the mid 196Os, when we first moved, to have a fig tree seemed impossibly romantic and exotic. Some years the figs even survived the full two years and ripened. The tree is still doing well, hard pruned every year, its ancient limbs supported by equally ancient branches from other, long gone, trees. It sits in a sunny sheltered spot by an old stone wall and is the guardian of the potting shed.
The dilapidated and now tottering potting shed is one of my favourite places and according to Dad has a venerable history. It seems that in a former and more significant life it was part of the cricket ground buildings at RAF Cranwell. Now I know for a fact that Douglas Bader played cricket at Cranwell and so maybe, just maybe he once graced its humble portals. I don’t know when it gave up its raffish life and was decommissioned into quiet village retirement because it always seemed old. Dad solicitously patched, painted and propped it up over the years but now water is seeping in. Ivy has twisted its way through the sagging roof and the internal wall is collapsing. Its glazed frontage is bowed and the long neglected contents wreathed in cobwebs and muffled with dust.
The shed was operations HQ for the garden and full of the stuff you would expect to find in the sheds of thrifty gardeners. Everything was saved recycled and reused. There is an WWII jerry can with petrol for the mower, along with the metal funnel wrapped in a stocking for filtering. There are old, unraveling, wicker baskets full of knotted garden twine, bundles of netting, wire, a bag of fertiliser bags, pots broken and whole, bits of wood, tiles, buckets full of soil improvers, many plant tags, a bunch of old keys, old galvanised watering cans hang from the ceiling, an ancient metal pump sprayer, tools, sharpening stones, oil cans, scythes, hoes, rakes, spades, forks etc etc, other unidentifiable bits of iron and Dads old army kit-bag now green and mouldy but seemingly intact and, most enchantingly to me, the wooden clockcase where once a robin made its nest and of course a horseshoe over the door.
Then there is my shed here at the ugly bungalow, now finally finished, equally lovingly patched and painted but, like the bungalow, characterless and empty.
My shed, first sighting in September, pre buying.. I thought it had potential!
Shed Jan 2012, now finished after many coats of paint and a new roof and some general TLC.
So, for nostalgic reasons, along with a large dollop of that inherited Yorkshire thrift I am moving some things from Dads shed to mine. The old basket of twine, some pots, some tools etc. They are not sitting too well at the moment in the pristine newly painted interior, but I guess a year will mellow things and it gives me enormous pleasure to do the light digging with my Mothers “ladies” garden fork, trim the hedge with Dads much sharpened shears and plant up the old pots with new life.
I have brought the clock case, hoping that maybe a bumblebee will take a liking to it and of course I have the spare old horseshoe .. still to be nailed above the door, which once adorned the dainty hoof of my beloved dapple grey mare and will remind me of clip clopping round the Lincolnshire country lanes.
Sentimental? Moi???…. :) I guess old age is just taking its toll…
Wonderful things, sheds…and for those of you who also love your sheds, you can show and share your passion on Readersheds.co.uk. The Potting Shed will be up there soon!