Can a shed ever be too big? According to Irish planning law, yes, it can. This is one of the facts I discovered when I went completely mad and bought myself one of those fancy, steel built sheds, the hyper modern kind that look like Frank Gehry-designed visions of the future. This effect is enhanced by my other, dilapidated, Unabomber style shacks – because I don’t just have one shed, I have two; one is small one that could just about hold a lawnmower, but with no room for me to tinker with said lawnmower, thus making that shed almost completely useless. Sheds need to be at least big enough for an old computer desk from 1992, covered in scratches, paint and oil. This elevates the shed from storage facility to crafts workshop, from a mere dumping ground to Francis Bacon’s studio. What great works could be carried out here – perhaps the upcycling of a lamp you found in the electrical recycling centre, or perhaps the removal of one of your own fingers, do we really need ten of them?
So I have one embarrassingly small shed, and one medium sized one on the other side of the garden. It is buried in a hedge, adding to the whole Unabomber vibe. It contains bikes that the kids can’t cycle because the roads are too dangerous, weedkiller and powertools I am scared to use as they are too dangerous, golf clubs that appear to date back to Famine times, and a box of mementoes, incorrectly labelled ‘momentos’ to create the illusion the box might contain out-of-date mint sweets rather than Valentine’s cards from ex-girlfriends.
But the house is still overflowing with actual mementoes – family heirlooms that we still haven’t figured out what to do with – and we need somewhere to put them. So I am like Goldilocks and the three sheds, because the time has come to get a proper, grown-up steel shed, one with concrete foundations so that should a twister ever touch down in east Cork – and with our climate disintegrating, it is possible – my shed would be safe from harm. Granted, having this many sheds on one site switches my home from domestic abode to cult compound, but my dream is that with this final steel fortress, I will finally have a shed that cannot be infiltrated by those little furry creatures that ruin everything – kids.
Sooner or later the toys start to spill over from inside the house to the shed, tractors, goalposts, basketball nets, deflated paddling pools, and all the other items made unusable by the fact that we live on a hillside, and the only flat space is at the cold side of the house, and that space is about to be filled by my lovely shed.
Even on my trip to the shed outlet was exciting, as you were confronted with the many iterations of shed, the endless possibilities – from moderate lean-to, to chalet, to functioning aircraft hangar. I was suddenly struck with shed envy and I started to consider demolishing the house to accomodate one massive shed into which all my belongings – and possibly even my wife and kids – could be neatly stuffed. In the end I opted for a smallish shed, small enough that you don’t need to fill out any paperwork, big enough that if a twister hits, I can fit myself, my whiskey collection, and possibly one child in there with me to weather the storm. Of course, when I say ‘storm’, what I really mean is ‘divorce’. The news of the State plan to shorten the time required apart to finalise a divorce sharpened my shed purchasing. ‘No, I won’t need plumbing or power’, I told the shed man, before ominously adding ‘….yet’.
The fact that you currently need to live separately for four years to get a divorce is insane. If my wife goes for a night away I am straight onto Tinder, doomsday prepping, seeing if my ring still slips off over my fat knuckles whilst uploading pics of me from ten years ago. She can’t leave me alone in the supermarket for more than ten minutes without returning to find me attempting to seduce some poor sod trying to buy stale bread in the about-to-go-off section. We are a fickle species, me especially so, so the thought of having to stay married, but live apart for four years just seems like a lot of hard work, and if there is one thing that unites my wife and I, it is a loathing of hard work. Even Brexit seems a doddle compared to Irish divorce.
So we grind it out, but if I had a dollar for every time the word divorce has been mentioned during an argument, I would probably be able to afford a divorce, or just a much bigger shed. With new legislation promising a quicker resolution to divorce, it is of paramount importance that I have a bunker to escape to, and that my future is all shed, no tears.