Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Pen

Writer and teacher Lynne Rees, one of the organisers of the Your Messages book, is also a keen shedworker whose own garden office is pictured above. Here she talks us through the beginnings of her shedlife:
"Back in the 1990s, after visiting Dylan Thomas's converted garage in Laugharne, I came home with an armful of brochures for sheds so I could have my own writing 'house' in the garden. When I first came home armed with the shed brochures Tony was less than impressed; possibly, as an artist, he thought that B&Q and Homebase designs were less than cutting edge, although we did have a cobbled, yorkstone and ragstone-walled courtyard garden so any kind of construction really needed to fit in. All I wanted was enough space for a wide desk, a small comfy sofa and bookshelves, and he worked around dimensions to accommodate those and came up with an hexagonal building with a curved roof and cupola which, although principally for aesthetic purposes, did act really effectively as an air cooler because when I opened the sliding hatch inside the warm air rose up and out - only in the summer of course!

"It took him about 4 months to build and the costs were minimal - the yorkstone base was already there, second-hand bricks for the dwarf wall, some weatherboarding, two reduced price windows from the local builders' merchant, plywood (that he curved, don't ask me how) for the roof that was topped with felt tiles, a door he made out of an old one we had here, and even the floor was shuttering ply into which he ground a large diamond pattern and glazed alternate diamonds a different shade so it looked look it was made out of big wooden floor tiles. Because it was quite small (the longest sides were 8 foot, the shorter ones leading to the points at either end were 6, and it was about 8 feet wide) in the winter it used to heat up really quickly, in about 15 minutes, with a plug in radiator.

"When we moved - only across the driveway to a new house (that Tony also built!) - I wasn't upset about leaving The Granary but I cried when I had to pack up The Pen - so much had happened there between 1996 and 2004: The Oven House was my first published book, and Messages was made there online with Sarah. And it was my first ever 'room of my own' too."

1 comment:

  1. […] ”I think a foreigner who wants to adopt French nationality begins to become truly French only when the bones of his parents dissolve into the earth of France,” he told me last week. “It’s at that moment that one begins to belong to the nation charnellement.”(A word for which I can’t find a quick equivalent – carnally doesn’t work, though it can do in other circumstances, viscerally, perhaps, intimately not really). Jean-Marie Le Pen talks in images, which I have to say makes talking to him vivid, alive and sometimes very funny. ‘ To put the exact English translation of charnellement (an adverb linked to the idea of a charnel house- an institution no longer, sorry, a la mode) in the mouth of Le Pen would be to make him sound long-winded and inarticulate, which, for all his vices, would be an unjust representation of his character. Translation, as this example shows, is therefore neither wholly art nor science: it combines factual rigour with an appreciation of a language’s aesthetic. […]

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