It pleased all my senses; the feel of cold steel tools, the rough and smoothness of different woods, the intense smell of fresh wood shavings and the rhythmic, soporific sound of sawing.
Great emphasis was placed on the annual task of painstakingly coating every inch of the external wood. Brushes had to be prepared, old clothes assembled in case of spills and I was ordered to, 'stand well back and not touch anything!' Anyone who knows me will realise this was an impossible request- for touching things, holding things, smelling things, tasting things, is what I do well.
Nanny would call out regular instructions from her vantage point at the kitchen sink as she watched the process unfolding. 'Charlie, mind you don't get that stuff on my clean washing.'
At the end of the task, as brushes were cleaned and the drips wiped from the outside of the paint tin, I would feel a loss for the natural, silvery, sunbleached wood, all but erased. It would take another full year of weather to wear away the ugly coat of brown.
Grandad's shed was his haven, his retreat, his domain, his castle, his place. He shared it willingly with us wee ones and over the years we watched him shape and form many a thing with his shaky, bony hands. We marvelled at his creative skill to turn bits and pieces of wood into useful everyday objects.
And now I have a shed.
A real shed for dreaming,thinking, creating...
and no creosote in sight.