Last week’s blog said that I hoped to be able to progress and, potentially even, empty the man shed. I am delighted to say that I have managed to do that and a little bit more, as we have even started the demolition.
This project will make a huge difference to us in a number of ways. We found that when I finished the storeroom above Grange the ability to store all of our ‘stuff’ in one place, especially everything which was required when we change the gîtes around, made life so much easier and more efficient. Having a larger, better arranged shed will do the same for all of my DIY equipment and mean that we can conduct maintenance and redecoration much more easily.
The plan is to rebuild the shed in exactly the same style as we have built Grange so making that whole part of the garden look more organised and planned. The rebuild will give us a much larger shed but also a larger parking area for Hayloft as cars are getting bigger and bigger it will allow our guests to park without protruding onto the drive.
The new shed will also give Mouse a more permanent, secure, home. While she is an outdoor cat she is incredibly affectionate and, for whatever reason, has been more so in the last few days. She likes being around us if we are working outside but really doesn’t like sleeping anywhere her mother has been. Her mother is owned by our neighbours but, as Mouse, lives outside. We don’t however think her mother is fed or has a place to sleep so she has become a bit of a nuisance and can be quite aggressive towards Mouse. Because Mouse can only sleep where any other cat can access, it does mean that all her comfy ‘beds’ have been visited by her mother so she won’t go back to them. Recently she has taken to sunbathing in an old granite sink – can’t be very comfy!
However, all that is a few weeks off. This week has been focussed on clearing out the inside and trying to be disciplined over what I keep and what I dispose of. Generally my approach is to keep anything ‘just in case’ but it does mean that we have a lot of things which need storing. As such it took until Friday to empty the shed completely. Oddly, the emptied shed appeared a lot smaller than it did when very cluttered. To think that I have about 3 garage bays of stuff to put back in when re-built is daunting!
Having emptied it, it became evident just what a poor state it was in. Of the 8 posts holding the roof up, 4 had rotted through at the base completely and were providing absolutely no support and many of the cladding planks were completely rotten. I wondered if a good gust from Storm Callum passing might help me finish the job but, to its credit, as I was removing all the old screws and nails as I went, in a couple of places the shed put up a good fight.
On the positive side, the cladding was made of the offcuts from a local saw mill so are mostly oak. They will make some great kindling although will take me days to cut up. With all the wood offcuts we have generated with the garage build, and will do with the shed, there is probably a week’s worth of work chopping but months’ worth of kindling when done.
The roof is the last thing to come off which I hope to do this week and I am looking for the best way of disposing it – sadly it is all the old roofing asbestos sheets so may prove problematic. I also need to find a way to temporarily waterproof a blocked up door to Hayloft as we don’t want damp to get in. More pressingly I should probably now go and buy some new material with which to start the rebuild. Famous last words I know but it shouldn’t take too long once I make a start!
I did manage to do a couple of other tasks in the week. As I thought, I got the grass cut or, more accurately, flattened out the many molehills and cut the small amount of lawn between them. A ‘project’ for next year trying to eradicate moles from the garden – it’s not as though there aren’t enough fields around us for them to burrow under.
I also visited our local quarry for a trailer of gravel and to order our first lorry load which arrives tomorrow morning to start gravelling around Grange. One lorry is 13 tonnes, it will be interesting to see how much we ultimately need for the whole drive but I think in the region of 50. Thankfully that probably won’t be until next year when I can empty all the garage bays – I just need a new man shed!
Finally, this weekend is also a lovely one as the kitchen is full of amazing smells as David has started his Christmas cooking. Chutneys and piccalilli today and cakes and mincemeat to come. We love the smells almost as much as the finished produce and our Christmas guests have a real treat to look forward to.
More shed work next week!