A visit to my country abode is not complete without a tour of our four sheds. When I say ‘ours’ I means Paul’s. Paul has four sheds, each in varying state of disrepair, each with its own unique personality.
Let’s begin with the wood shed closest to the entrance of our property. The walls are made with lattice, which have come in handy when we’ve run out of kindling. This is why large chunks of the back wall are missing, making it an ideal indoor-outdoor space for Paul to cook his meals. I refuse to let him cook meat in the house, being a self-righteous fish n’ chip-o-crite, so when he craves the burnt flesh of an animal, he uses a makeshift stove and griddle pan which are kept in the back corner.
This shed used to be a carport but over time the firewood and countless huntsmen have taken up residency, so that our cars remain parked outside with our pram and our daughter’s bike, exposed to the elements.
A short stroll past the house brings us to a double car garage. It’s in complete disarray; planks of wood, which may or may not come in handy one day, are piled up on the ground, next to some tiles, which may or may not come in handy one day, and gardening equipment purchased at Bunnings. Paul loves a weekend trip to Bunnings. There are mice in this shed. Lots of mice. When we set traps in the house last year, they relocated to the pile of straw used to replenish the chicken coop. Sometimes if I want to really embrace country living I go out to this shed and lay my head on the pile of straw and listen to the mice squeaking underneath.
Summertime in this shed calls for much excitement. Because there is so much crap lying around you just never know what could be hiding under that blue tarp in the corner, for example. A brown snake may have chosen this as her nesting area for the season. As a mother, I know how difficult it can be deciding where to have your babies, so I’m fully supportive of her choice.
All the bits and bobs here are Paul’s. He is forever doing a ‘stocktake’ of what’s on hand and gets really annoyed if I borrow the secateurs to do some light pruning. He won’t even let me paint the outside of this shed a very on- trend teal blue. Paul is very territorial when it comes to his sheds. As you can see there are a lot of used Furphy beer cans chucked on the ground. This is Paul’s attempt at warding off stray cats, you know, like how people put those bottles of water on the nature strip? To the rear of the property we have a lovely fibro lean-to. Most of the outside cladding has come away, the walls are full of asbestos and there is a bee hive in the roof. It also smells of possum urine. There is some serious machinery in this ‘shed’, all Paul’s of course. There are also boxes full of baby clothes and a half deflated fit ball. Paul assures me he will pump it up in time for me to give birth. I was due last Thursday.
There is a box of my memories in a corner covered in possum shit. Paul keeps telling me that one day the lean-to will be gone, but I think he is a man who likes to be surrounded by sheds, and that he will only remove one if he can replace it straight away.
Back at the house, just past our un-renovated bathroom, is what used to be a linen closet. At some stage, Paul ran out of space in his three outdoor sheds and now this linen cupboard serves as a fourth shed, a storage space for his extensive collection of drills and nails. I’ve managed to secure one shelf for our linen, but it’s only a matter of time before Paul asks if I can put it elsewhere.
There is a second box of my memories in this cupboard/shed, but Paul has stashed it at the very back of the very top shelf, so I can’t reach it.
I want to show you one last thing; follow me to the living room. Next to Paul’s organ, an ‘absolute bargain’ from a local garage sale, sits a beautiful antique Chinese chest of drawers. Let me pull out one of the drawers. It is filled to the brim with craft supplies, all squished in and in no real order. This is my ‘shed’ - a draw. I get one fucking draw. Paul has put some of his receipts from Bunnings in it.
It’s my drawer and his filing cabinet.