With the effects of the downturn taking hold many people are struggling to keep their homes goings along with the loss of their gardens, which I’m sure is not at the top of their agenda, and this is a great shame. It appears that the government, in their wisdom, think by cutting back, they can solve the countries problem but they don’t explain how these people are going to survive in these hard times. This is leading to sheds being used more and more by families where their offspring have gone off to make the way in the world and then lost their jobs, mainly through no fault of their own, and consequently losing their accommodation. The only answer is to go back home, although not all parents will take them back. My nephew was in this situation and, after his hours being cut was not able to pay to keep even a basic room going, however, his father won’t allow him back to live at his home in Winchester not even in a shed in the garden. How a father can do this – I don’t know – I’m sure that even if he did not have any space in the house a small garden shed would be enough for a bed for him to sleep in out of the cold weather we were experiencing.
In the news, certainly in London the use of garden sheds and workshops for accommodation is quite common and many potential landlords (or shed lords) are risking the wrath of the local council by actually advertising – rooms to let in sheds – surely these must be off their rocker if they think they can use their sheds like this and actually make the council aware of this. One recent case was an Hungarian chap, Greg Farkas, who had more than 20 enquiries for his best sheds which he bought for £800 each. He withdrew the advert when he realised he needed planning permission to use a garden shed for living accommodation. Whether he did rent out the shed to anybody is not clear.
Over in Australia there is a similar trend where the garden shed is brought into play as it emerges that a family has been using a shed to live in Adelaide for over 3 years. Jonathan Curtin, who was suffering from depression and probably not helped by the state of the world, have been living in a Winchester timber shed along with his wife and children. After being declared unfit for work and getting into debt he took up residence in the garden shed to keep a roof over his head.
This was after spending over 20 years trying to get public housing for his family. This certainly seems to have being mirrored in this country with the cutbacks and the lack of council accommodation after the big council houses sale started by Maggie Thatcher.
Since he moved into it he has found a wife and have had children who now live with him in this garden building. How on earth they can manage in such a small shed, I don’t know. After becoming aware of the situation the local council have promised to find a proper home for them as soon as possible so the shed can go back to its original purpose for storing garden tools etc for the garden.
The garden shed has been in the news more than once lately with the news that Pauline Barnett, who set up one Britain’s first charity shop in a garden shed, had died. Her Winchester shed was in use for over 30 years raising money for good causes.
At this time of the year we can look out into the garden in Winchester and start making plans for the coming spring which is not too far away. As soon as February has gone and the early part of March has arrived we can feel assured that our garden sheds will be called back into action in preparation for the warm months ahead. At the moment the shed is closed up, which is not always a good idea so it helps to open the shed up from time to time to allow air to circulate. Hopefully leading up to Christmas the gentle hints about the new garden tools you may like or the latest garden gadgets did appear in your stocking or large gardening welly boot. Some cheeky people had even suggested a new garden shed or a replacement for their existing sheds, however, I think most of these requests would have fallen onto deaf ears, still it was worth a try.
Each year more and more garden gadgets are invented, some not worth the light of day and will reside at the back of the shed after one use, other will be the next best thing to sliced bread and will make you wonder how you managed without it. From lawn aerators shoes where you walk over the lawn aerating the garden, to solar powered mole deterrents, to electric weed killers to soil testers for your garden plants. Add in new types of wheel barrows, spades, forks and rakes and you can see why your poor garden shed will be bulging at the seams.
During the Winter months many reviews of some of these gardening gadgets and tools has taken place and for green fingered people these were important reports on the ‘must have’ gadgets. One which was well recommended was a garden kneeler to help when you kneel down onto soggy gardens or grass, which is not good even for the younger gardeners out there, for us oldies it’s essential. Besides the health implications the dirt off the garden can ruin good clothes or make it hard to get them clean again so this seems like a good idea.
A garden kneeler was designed by Cath Kidston in Winchester and has handles on it so it can easily be used around the garden and when finished can be hung up in the shed. It also features an attractive floral print design for the ladies of the garden, although many men don’t mind these sort of features as well.
Barnitts’ kneeler is designed was people who have trouble getting up after kneeling down on the garden or flower beds. We all know what it’s like trying to straighten up after just a little while kneeling. The kneeler has a raised platform which doubles up as a step. There is also an option to have a fleece overcoat for maximum comfort for those who are feeling a little delicate when gardening. Even with the fleece this kneeler is quite compact and will take up only a little space on your garden shed wall. Besides these options Garden Divas have produced a soft model which is available in a range of colours and also features a garden waterproof cover.
Just recently advice was given about how to deal with weeds in the garden and also to clear any around the shed during the winter. This advice says that during the wet spells it still a good time to do this and this will give you more time in your shed when you open it up properly for the Spring. An ideal shed for Winchester if you wish.