If you are looking for a surprise then take a look in your garden shed. The sheer number of strange articles hidden away is immense from the ashes from a family member's cremation, stuffed animals, a wedding dress right through to unexploded bombs and grenades, guns, rifles and bullets.
The list could go on and on. So if you come across a garden shed which has not been used for a long time, maybe after a loved one has passed away, don't be surprised by what you find.
And talking about after a loved one has passed away a survey - of 100 people (no not really) - by Cuprinol found that 6% of garden shed owners would like to be buried in their shed, so be a little careful when you see a new patch of concrete. Whether 'her indoors' would notice I'm not sure as many men more or less live in their shed - their home from home.
Another unusual item which turned up recently was a world war 2 dummy paratrooper. This was one of the 500 which was dropped over France with the aim being to baffle the Germans. These paratroopers were about 3ft tall and were made from canvas sandbags and were named 'Ruperts'. This was to distinguish them from the American 'Oscars' Don't ask!.
This secret operation was named 'Titanic'. Along with the 100's of dummies six brave SAS men jumped with the dummies with the intention of making lots of noise and to baffle the Germans even more. Being dropped away from the main assault this saved many Allied lives as the German High Command could not be sure where to place their troops.
This 'Rupert' was found in a garden shed and has now been auctioned for £900 by the Marlow based auctioneers, Marlows. Other surviving 'Ruperts' can be found in museums in the US as well as in Europe. Other 'Ruperts' were found unused in shed storage on an English airfield back in the 1980's. These, unused, dummies found their way to collectors shows and also onto auction web sites.
The mention of dummies and garden sheds makes me think of those people who set out to buy a new garden shed and only look at the price. Clearly thinking that sheds are all the same except for the price makes them the dummies which they will find out after only a few years. The bargain shed they bought with their 'sheet' material floors and roofs will by now be disintegrating. The reason for this is that they are made from wood chipping or shavings glued together. As soon as they get wet their days are numbered.
So be wary of any sheds with chipboard, OSB (oriental strand board), wafer board, or sterling board roofs as these will all have these problems unless your are VERY lucky.
Also on the cheap garden sheds there will be doors with no supporting bracing, very thin framing and see through (more or less) timber cladding. Not a very good recipe for long life. Yes - they are cheap but they are not good value.
Far better to spend a little more on a well made shed using proper materials suitable for outdoor use such as these ones from '1st Choice Garden Sheds'. May cost a little more but you can see them BEFORE buying and they will even build them for you. Which has got to be a good thing. These are top value sheds and will last many many years.
Maybe someone should write a book 'Buying Garden Sheds for Dummies' which I'm sure would be a smash hit (with the exception of the cheap shed companies) Maybe I should consider doing this as I have been in the garden shed business for over 39 years, even before Maggie Thatcher came to power.