Home Sweet Shed - the making of ...

Needing more time to neglect the kids

Phonebooth stuffing fad in California, circa 1959. Photo by Joe Munroe/Ohio Historical Society CollectionsOurs is (probably, arguably) the most popular house in the neighbourhood. Amongst children, that is. Kids from near and far are drawn to us. Apart from our astonishingly charming personalities, the full size basketball goal and 12 foot trampoline in our tiny back patio probably has something to do with this.

As a result our lovely house sometimes feels a little bit like a Californian phone booth circa 1959 (pictured right).

I am told that in the 1800s, three families used to live in my house, one family to each two-room floor. My experience now confirms that this is a barefaced lie.

Victorian family. Photo held by National Library of WalesA big Victorian family like the one pictured couldn't possibly fit in a terraced house like ours unless they were skilled in stacking children. Or perhaps they had ways of keeping the whining under control.

No doubt, the Victorians had never intended these houses for sitting room football matches or dining table ping pong, inescapable imperatives of a modern childhood.

Ping Pong Champ. From Arizona Table Tennis Online.Knowing this, we sought to improve the quality of our life by acquiring a full size table tennis table. Now ping pong skills are of a higher quality and subsequently, our popularity with young people in the neighbourhood has skyrocketed further. However, there are only so many ways of arranging furniture around a tennis table.

Did I mention that I am a writer? Someone who makes a living by sitting in front of a computer all day. Next to the front window as it happens. Which means anybody on the pavement who needs a pint of milk or a small bowl of sugar can see that I am in and knock on the door. Which is a damn shame when one is deep in the throes of rehearsing what she would say to Brad Pitt (gratuitous picture, left) when he agrees to star in the film based on her manuscript which is currently not getting written.

All these comings and goings mean less time in front of the computer. Which is a bad thing when you are a writer and your only hope of conquering the literary stratosphere is to spend more time with your keyboard.

That’s why we are going to build a shed at the bottom of the garden.

I need to be alone with the computer, away from distraction.

And I need more time to neglect the kids.

Next: Choosing your shed is something of a beauty pageant