The Garden Shed
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There may be something nasty in the woodshed, or at least there was on Cold Comfort Farm, but not in the garden shed. There is no room. It is packed with the tools of horticultural survival: a lawn-mover, preferably rusting; spade, fork, hoe, hand-tools various, secateurs that pinch your fingers, and boxes filled with useful rubbish. The floor is covered with nearly empty bottles of something that will come in handy, but are never actually used up, as when their contents are needed we buy new.
If an Englishman’s home is his castle, his shed is the keep, the last resort when harsh words have been exchanged; or when unloved relations arrive unexpectedly: “I’m going to look at the lawnmower,” is the cry of a desperate man. If everyone had a shed there would be fewer divorces.
Pottering goes on in sheds; inventing too; and sometimes things polite society would rather ignore: model making; woodwork; perusing esoteric literature.
The architecture of the shed illustrates our social divides. A brand-new perfectly aligned model is frowned upon by the silk-scarved middle-classes; it is arriviste. Like referring to the evening meal as supper, it is posher to have a battered and moss covered version with quaintly cracked window. But owners of both classes look down on those with no shed at all.

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