Friday, October 20, 2006

Fantasy shedworking

An unusual piece by Rachel Johnson (no relation), author of the recent novel Notting Hell in the latest issue of The Spectator. Unless you have a subscription you can only see the first few paragraphs online here.

"I have steamy, wild fantasies about garden sheds," she says. "So I spend a lot of time online, comparing shed with shed...I know all there is to know about timber preservatives, level solid bases, insulation, mildew resistant finishes, trickle vents, downlighters, power points, ultraviolet absorbing coatings, weatherproofing and broadband access. But nothing I see in catalogues or on websites looks like my shed. In my mind’s eye, my garden shed will look a bit like the potting shed from The Secret Garden. Rustically painted a duck-egg grey-blue shade, with peeling tongue-and-groove panelling, it will have a peaked roof and leaded-paned windows to let in the sun.

"The floor will be wide oak planks, covered with kilims. As no one will be allowed to enter, I can do as I please. I will sit at the desk I bought from Samantha Cameron’s mother (i.e., the campaign desk from Oka) and will invest in a hideous chair for my poor back. I might even buy one of those furry, plug-in footwarmers for my extremities. I will have a kettle, filing cabinets, and photographs of the children, iPod speakers, a Roberts radio, and a steady supply of Green & Black’s chocolate. Coco, my dog, will be the only family member who will have freedom of my shed, apart from me."

She then goes on to say she has yet to find this fantasy shed. "The sheds I see online are all roughly constructed out of orangey-pine and look like doll’s chalets, with horrible black cladding on the roofs and blank-faced, plasticky windows, that look as if they should be toll booths or housing hot tubs or a kennel for Alsatians, or some other grim purpose."

I'm not sure where she's been looking - this doesn't sound like my garden office shed at all - so obviously I've been in touch with her and suggested she contact some of the suppliers in the list in the right hand column.

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