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The Shed Principle

(Travels with Guido series #281, by Guy ‘Guido’ Allen, Jan 2021)


How a lousy plan turned into gridlock

In retrospect it came awfully close to being a catastrophic decision, even by my standards. Even Ms M snr, who is normally remarkably tolerant of my ability to cover every flat space in sight with a vehicle, might have temporarily tipped over the edge into insanity and, assuming they ever found the body (mine), would never be convicted by any reasonable jury.

She was in China for what was meant to be a few months, enduring her usual love-hate relationship with the place. There she is regularly delighted by friends and their generosity and equally baffled by their ability to blissfully blank out brain-frying discomfort.

Anyway, while M was away I started obsessing over our shortage of shed space and, as you do, bought another shed. A big one. A really big one. It may have been late, and I might have had a claret. That would help explain why, the next day as I paced out the dimensions (yeah, yeah, maybe I should have done this the day before), the discovery was made that it would fit in the back yard beside the existing shed. Just.

In fact, some of us would have to lose weight if we wanted to squeeze through to the clothesline and the local council might take a dim view of the number of building regulations being broken. On the bright side, there’d be no more mowing the lawn.

Just as I started making enquiries about laying down a new concrete slab, Ms M announced she was coming back early. Ah. This was going to be interesting. You see the plan was to build it and, when she returned some months later, I could then refer to it as “that old thing”, while expressing some shock at her surprise/anger/whatever.

A somewhat tricky discussion ensued – not our first. It could have been worse. She didn’t come home to discover I’d taken up yachting and find a giant keel laid down in the back yard. Somehow that observation did nothing to ease the tension. My alternate point that she could look on the bright side, at least I don’t collect aircraft (yet) didn’t do a whole lot to lift the mood, either.

Once the proverbial dust had settled, we eventually agreed on an alternate plan, which was to extend forward on the existing shed. I preferred the idea of going up – how much could a couple of floors and a goods lift really cost?

Proving that suspect decision-making doesn’t have to be genetic – it could be viral - Ms M chose the contractor because she liked the look of his truck. Yep, she picked him randomly off the street. What’s even more irritating is he turned out to be a good choice and of course knows several of our motorcycle friends.

He did a great job and now we have a lot more space – almost double. Of course it’s not enough. You see we seemed to acquire another motorcycle or two in the interim. (I swear they follow me home.) Oh, and there was that car I bought, and the live-in daughter seems to have added another to her fleet.

Did you ever see that movie The Castle? If so, you may remember when one of the sons wanders in and gives a ridiculous speech about the byzantine order in which he has to move the fleet of dodgy vehicles just to get his out. To us, it seems like a documentary. Getting something out for a run now takes planning and determination.

While it’s wonderful that we have more space, it seems we’ve also grown the size of the problem. Which has got me thinking and has led to the announcement of a new hitherto undiscovered physical law: the shed principle. That is, now matter how big your shed becomes, your fleet will expand to take up 120 per cent of the available space.

Don’t say you weren’t warned…

See more Travels with Guido here



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