Saturday, 10 October 2015

Anatomy of a shed

While the rest of the world seems to spend its weekends running around frantically, waving its arms and making lots of noise, I'm quite happy to sit back for a well-earned rest.
The grocery shopping has been done, an uncharacteristic lie-in has been enjoyed, and all that remains is to decide how to fill the hours until it's Monday morning and time to begin the cycle all over again.

If I was sufficiently motivated, I could find lots of jobs around the house that need attention.
The grout in the bathroom could do with a bit of bleaching, the CD rack needs some sort of reinforcing because the shelves are sagging under the weight, and the subject of redecorating the bedroom keeps rearing its ugly head.
I do need to clean and sterilise one of the beer barrels in readiness for the next batch which is bubbling away happily in the corner of the living room, and I still have two written assignments to complete for the ILM Leadership & Management course I've been doing for the past five weeks.

Last weekend I replaced the front shock absorbers on the Civic, but was unable to change the rear ones because the bottom bolts are seized solid and I don't have enough room to swing on a long bar to get them undone without the car being up on a ramp.
After two good sessions and much swearing I finally gave up, and for the first time in twenty six years I've had to resort to employing the services of a garage for something other than an MOT or the fitting of new tyres.
With all the tools in the shed you'd think I'd be able to shift a couple of bolts, but a combination of fourteen years of corrsion from rain, mud and hefty quantities of the salt they throw on the road in winter, coupled with major access issues, have conspired to make my efforts fail.

While undertaking this task I did realise what a complete mess the shed has become, and maybe this could be something for me to tackle.
Usually I'm pretty good at keeping things in order, but lately I've let things slide a little.
Shelves are piled up with cans of paint, polish, and lubricants, plus assorted jars filled with bolts, washers, screws etc.
What used to be a small work bench is now topped with the early stages of an N-gauge model railway, which came along in a flurry of enthusiasm which has petered out over the past few weeks, and a fair chunk of space is taken up with my two bicycles (a Diamondback hardtail mountain bike and a Trek road bike), the wife's Claud Butler hybrid, and the boy's BMX which is in kit form due to extensive abuse and a complete lack of interest.
The tumble dryer lives in the shed because there's no room for it anywhere else, with an old PC on top which gets used as a handy juke box when I'm pottering around in there. Next to that are a pair of 40 pint beer barrels to take the rough edges off the world in general, a table littered with assorted model railway-related bits and bobs, and the fairly extensive tool collection.
These have been gathered since I was about sixteen - especially when I first started my apprenticeship - and luckily those have been just as useful for cars and motorbikes as they were for aircraft. Many others have been added since then, with plenty of power tools and a fair few vehicle-related special items like a brake pipe flaring tool, a ball joint splitter, a valve spring compressor, and even a four-tube mercury manometer that I made myself for balancing the carburettors on four-cylinder bikes.
Added to all this is the standard collection of detritus that most of us end up with such as nearly-empty cans of emulsion, off-cuts of water pipe, assorted electrical fittings, and numerous items kept for the sole reason that they "might come in handy one day".

All this stuff is normally stashed away neatly, but recently I've taken less notice of it all and consequently I now have a big mess to wade through. On the plus side though, once I've got it straightened out I might even regain some interest in the model railway which will give me something else to do at the weekend instead of just shooting people on the Playstation.

Not so bad as sheds go, but messy by my standards...