Friday, November 30, 2007

Friggebod Friday - Öland: island of sheds

Off the east coast of Sweden lies the nation’s second largest island, Öland, writes Sy Willmer, Shedworking's north Europe correspondent. It's a favoured vacation destination for all shapes and sizes of Scandinavians in the warmer mouths and home to a community of islanddwellers who when not employed in the tourist industry are occupied with sailing, agriculture and small fishing concerns. Charming villages are arranged around the long thin coastline and one finds a wealth of sheds related to all of the island’s activities used by fisherman, farmers and holidaymakers, through to artists' ateliers. The livestock of choice here is the ever popular sheep (shepherds are well known to the readers of Shedworking as the mothers of shed invention). On my arrival on Öland my first destination was the island’s southern tip, favoured by birdwatchers and the Swedish royal family, to view a well preserved traditional “Herdes skjul” or shepherd's hut.Shed technology has a long history on Öland and the island is home to some excellent examples of classic Nordic sheds. The pitch roof is worthy of mention, especially the timberwork that is different to that present on British thatched roofs. The interior is lined and plastered creating a cosy retreat for the sheep professional from the elements of this windswept island.

The farmers of Öland have been productive the length and breadth of the island - while circumnavigating one frequently finds the familiar Scandinavian red lock panel style of shed by the side of the road. But my particular favourite is the pole mounted version. Life on an island can be full of surprises and as the wise men of Öland are fond of reminding wandering shed enthusiasts, look out for your shed and your shed will look out for you.

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