It is quite possible that the family next door will never forgive us for what we inflicted on them over the weekend: two full days of auditory violence from breakfast until long past dinner. Quite simply, we are the DIY neighbours from hell. Not content with hanging a picture or assembling flat-packed furniture, we took a fancy to building a garden shed. Not for us the kits delivered on the back of a lorry – instead, four car-loads of wood, screws, nails and roofing felt have been carried home from our local hardware supermarket. To these materials, we applied not only hand, tenon and mitre saws and hammers, but also high-powered drills and electric screwdrivers, plus a jigsaw. Only a lingering sense of fiscal responsibility prevented us from fetching home a circular saw to complete the “orchestra”. Still, the “melody” our little quartet produced was enough to draw the curiosity of passers-by (all the more so because only the tallest could see us behind the high walls of our garden).
The work is nearly complete now. Our shed has four complete walls standing squarely on a strong and level base. A ridgepole runs the length of it, and the first rafter pair are now semi-secure, making a gable above the doorway. Tonight, we must get the roof on, because tomorrow it will rain (can you believe our luck in having three consecutive dry days, just when they were needed?). Oh, and all sides must be painted, to weatherproof them. Roofing is the job we really dread, though: cutting rafters with tricky angles and “bird’s mouth” notches and screwing them together into something neat and strong, seven or eight feet above the shed floor (in the dark, because night falls so early now).