Man fixing shed be man intensely alive

Our shed needs fixing. I’ve done the easy bit: I’ve bought ten square metres of felt and some things called clout nails which sound terribly exciting. I’ve even got felt glue, or maybe it’s felt sealant. Whatever: it goes between the two metre-wide strips I’ll need to cut, like the filthy filling in a disgusting building-material sandwich.

Now comes the hard part, and frankly it’s exposed a chink in my social armour. This is a two-man job, and I don’t think I know anyone “handy” enough (in all sorts of meanings of the word) who could help to re-roof a shed, or at least know them well enough to ask them to do so for e.g. the price of a hot dinner and some beer. That’s not intended to be an insult to my nearest and dearest, as I certainly would never expect anyone to ask me to do the equivalent for them.

You can divide my social relationships how you might wish, but it’s clear that those closest to me are literate, funny, bright, entertaining, sweet, charming and quite capable of accidentally putting a clout nail through a fingernail or a foot through a shed roof. These are the social decisions I’ve (often unwittingly) made over the years, to enjoy the company of people who can make me laugh and think, but whom I wouldn’t trust with a powertool; I hope they’re close friends precisely because they think the same about me.

Fixing this shed will probably have to wait for spring anyway, despite the bad weather gradually rotting away the timbers. It needs a long, sunny day, as otherwise it’d be a frothing bucket of misery poured over the heads of both me and my mystery companion. Hopefully by then I’ll have made friends with a lusty, rustic type with biceps like slabs of Cotswold stone and a head full of similar. Either that or I’ll have paid one or even two of them to sort it out and push off.

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4 Responses to Man fixing shed be man intensely alive

  1. Bea says:

    you may be underestimating your nearest and dearest. Phil and I would both consider ourselves iterate, possibly some of those other things, and quite capable of accidentally putting a clout nail through a fingernail or a foot through a shed roof being not especially competent – but needs must when stuff needs doing and the two of us managed to build an entire shed from a B&Q kit, including the tricky gluing-and-nailing-the-felt-on bit, between the two of us. how about suggesting it to one of your nearest nearest aesthete friends as material for a performance art/comedy slapstick project?

  2. hatmandu says:

    I’m not sure I meet your description exactly, but I did build our allotment shed single handed, so might be able to help when the weather gets better!

  3. sbalb says:

    Bea: I don’t think it’s so much a case of underestimating, given you accept that, like me, you can put a nail through a finger as well as anyone! I did think about people I know who’ve built a shed – along with hatmandu’s there’s at least one other ongoing shed project – and measured it against my own ability: I think I could build a shed, with help. Fixing a shed is harder and doing it wrong can mean an elderly shed just gets more rickety.

    You can build a shed by following the instructions that come with the pack, probably only requiring a two-step ladder and resting your weight on the mostly completed shed. To fix one in situ, for a start you’d need instructions on how to do it properly according to the materials your shed already consists of, which don’t readily exist: I’ve gleaned what I can from the excellent Collins DIY guides, but who knows if I’m doing the right thing?

    The shed is also bordered by tall boundary fences on both sides, which means that an extensible ladder conforming to BS EN 131 is required to reach the roof, and another pair of hands is suddenly tied up steadying it. That then becomes the health-and-safety equivalent of work at height. I’m not kidding, not really. It makes it harder to ask someone else to help and end up responsible for their safety.

    The shed is also old, and I don’t know its history. Some of the wood is definitely soft and some might be rotten. Whereas you can rest your weight on a new shed while you hammer nails in, it raises all sorts of new hazards that complicate the question, not merely of “who can help?” but of “who can I reasonably ask to help?”

    Anyway, I don’t doubt that, if there’s some sort of shed-based emergency, I can call on almost anyone I know. I was merely trying to explain that I have a low-DIY social network. But there’s definitely potential for excellent slapstick material there. I’m watching that Kenny Everett sketch for inspiration.

  4. sbalb says:

    @hatmandu: I’d certainly appreciate some help if you think you’re up to it. Come round at some point when the snow melts and have a look at it, anyway. Having had to pin a temporary roof on it – binbags, really – I can confirm that it’s harder than it looks to get access to it.

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