Thursday, 20 July 2017

Poetry and Sheds

You may remember I have said before I love how sometimes things come full circle and interlock, I love word games, I love playing with words. One thing I never particularly liked was poetry. It is ok, in small doses, but, I mean, when I was a student,  a date with a sports man or a date with a poet? I preferred the sports man. But, we mellow as we get older or maybe just appreciate these things a little more. Poetry has more appeal now than it ever did for me.

We went out yesterday and we took our trust Discover N Ireland book with us, bought around the time we got married. This is our Bradshaw's. Roll over Michael Portillo!

Yesterday we went to the Seamus Heaney centre, Home Place. Seamus Heaney was Ireland's greatest living poet, well until he died. He was the bane of my daughter's homework, and therefore the bane of my life for a short while. Until yesterday. We went to the Seamus Heaney centre and I can honestly say I am reformed. The poetry was amazing. He had such a way with words, an economy with words. He put everyday experiences into his poems. I was tears reading his poem about peeling potatoes with his mother. That wasn't about Seamus and his mother. He was writing about me and my granny. Granny Annie and me peeling potatoes. And the poem written about himself and his brothers playing football in the dark with jumpers for goalposts. That wasn't written about him in the 1950s, that was my sons in the 1990s. I can't find a link online, but it is very good.

My father in law wrote poetry. His father wrote poetry. My husband was a sportsman, but has become a sort of poet in later life. The genes will out. As Billy Bragg sings in his "Handyman Blues",
"don't be expecting me to put up shelves or BUILD A GARDEN SHED,
but I can write a song that tells the world
how much I love you instead....
.....I know it looks like I'm just reading the paper
but these ideas I'll turn to gold dust later,
Cause I'm a writer not a decorator."

Well this brings me neatly to today's actual blog post. I doubt my brother in law Handy C, writes much poetry, but he can BUILD A GARDEN SHED! In fact he has built 2, from scratch, not from a kit. He has built the same shed twice.

You may remember my father had a summer house, built by brother in law. It was in two parts. It was half summer  house, half storage unit. It was built to face sun. It had double glazing. It had a tv and sky sports. It had a kettle for making coffee. It had a radio. It had two radios so dad didn't have to retune the station.  It had a decking so dad could still listen/watch his beloved cricket yet sit in the sun/shade as he felt. It also had a balustrade for hanging quilts over to photograph. Very useful indeed was Granda's Shed as my father insisted on calling it.

In fact you may remember this Coin quilt I made  him last year for sitting in his summer house on a cooler day, listening to his beloved cricket and doing the crossword. 

Dad had been reluctant to put Handy C to all the bother. After all, who knows how long I will be here he used to say. Always the optimist my dad. We persuaded him it would increase the value of his house, so he agreed for inheritance reasons to let Handy C build the shed. As it happened Dad used it and enjoyed it for quite a few years.

And now the house is to go up for sale. I felt the new owners may well decide they didn't want  a summerhouse, and we would all be so upset when it would be taken down. Maybe even with a sledge  hammer and a mallet, the end of all our memories. To me the best solution was to take the fence and walk Granda's shed to the next door garden. My sister and brother in law live next door.

Apparently you cant just take down a fence, lift up a summer house and carry it next door. It is heavy for a start. Take up your house and walk I thought, like a snail. You can however take a summer house apart, take down the fence, carry your bits across and rebuild your house next door. To an even better specification, after all the shed in its first life, was only the prototype.


 You can see the hole in the fence and the big gap where the Shed used to be.

And so now Granda's Shed has a new life in my sister's garden. And I can still hang my quilts over the balustrade she says! The quilt I made her from my dad's shirts looks rather well hanging over the edge, doesn't it?

And she even found a sign in a shop saying "Grandad's Shed". Just sitting there on the shop shelf. Waiting for her. Poetry. Economy of words. Two words says it all. Sniff , tissues please.

Happy Thursday,
Helen x


  1. awe thats lovely....I'm glad you all still get to use 'Granda's Shed'!
    Never could abide Heaney I'm afraid, some nonsense about drowning kittens in a bucket put me off him for life!!

  2. Oh Helen, wonderful post. Made me shed a tear too! Xx

  3. "Take up your house and walk I thought, like a snail." That's a bit of poetry, right there, in that line.

  4. Helen, love reading this story, so sweet!

  5. I am so glad you were able to move it next door to continue to utilize for the future. Hugs and love!

  6. Oh what a lovely story. So appropriate that the shed has 'walked' next door and been kept by family as a lovely large memory box of your Dad. However the new house owners used the shed it would never have had the same associations for them. Much better to be rescued. And a lovely place to drape quilts makes it even more perfect!!

  7. Granda's shed sounds like a perfect hideaway, I'm glad you managed to transport it next door, if the new neighbours kept it, it would have been sad seeing someone else in there. Now it will be a place of happy memories where you will always feel extra close to him. Lovely post Helen.

  8. Fabulous story. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I’m happy I located this blog! From time to time, students want to cognitive the keys of productive literary essays composing. Your first-class knowledge about this good post can become a proper basis for such people. nice one small sheds melbourne


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