Saturday, 15 September 2012

Chapter 1

It had been six weeks since the accident and this was his last appointment with the phisio. Susan had been a tremendous help, Dennis was at last able stretch to his full height. It was late afternoon and as he had been her last client they sat chatting after his treatment. It was then that Dennis revealed to her his plans for a shed.

Susan had never thought much about sheds but as Dennis described it her pulse began to quicken, “you will let me see it Dennis” she panted. “I’ll text you when the base is being laid” he replied. After he had left Susan began to daydream, she remembered how as a young woman she had been indifferent towards sheds and other sectional buildings but now...

Several weeks past until she received a text from Dennis, “it’s getting laid tomorrow” was all it said but Susan’s pulse was once again racing. She cancelled all appointments and as she drove the eight miles to Dennis’s house she imagined what it might be like. When she arrived work was already in progress, the massive ready-mix truck barely fitted in the narrow lane its huge bucket churning the heavy mix round and round with a relentless thumping, only to be interrupted by the occasional whoosh as another load gushed down the hopper and into a waiting barrow. “Hi Susan”, it was Dennis who interrupted her trance. “It’s a tight squeeze” she murmured still not quite recovered from her encounter. “It’s so big, how did you get it into the lane” she continued. “We trimmed back some of the foliage” replied Dennis, “gave it a real Brazilian”.

Dennis led her round the truck and she felt a shiver of excitement as the massive bucket brushed past her arm. As she approached the back garden she wondered how big the base would be. Dennis pushed back the gate and there it was, massive and glistening in the midday sun. At the far end it was like a rumpled sheet as the men used a wide tamper to smooth the surface. As the tamper was raised she could hear the suck of wet concrete clinging tightly to it followed by a resounding thud as it plunged back into the mix. This hypnotic rhythm was making Susan sweat, “are you ok” said Dennis as her offered her his hand.

He led her to the other end where the last few barrow loads of concrete was being dispensed. “It still needs tamping” said Dennis. “Oh yes” Susan responded, “oh yes”. She was fixated by the craggy lumps of concrete and marvelled at how they shuddered as another load was emptied in. “Can I touch it” Susan said and Dennis understood exactly what she meant. They kneeled at the edge of the base and she allowed his hand to guide her towards the tacky, moist surface. Suddenly she broke free of his grip and plunged her hand right into the mix. The cool, grey liquid engulfed her hand and arm as her enquiring fingers fondled the hard lumps of ballast deep below the surface. Soon she had plunged her other hand in too and in a rocking motion she thrust them back and forth.

Dennis remembered how with those same motions she had eased away his pain after the accident but now this was for her, this was for Susan. He watched as her blouse pulled loose and he could see her glossy flesh shimmering. But he knew that he was simply a bystander, Susan was mesmerised as the tamping came nearer it became louder and louder, now within inches of her fingers all she could think of was the rush that was about to engulf her. “Yes, yes” she screamed and she pulled both arms out of the mix. She held them out to Dennis in triumph; he understood. He lightly held her chilled, grey fingers and gazed at her face reddened and splattered with beads of concrete. Are you glad you came he whispered?


  1. Once again we are indebted to Gordon for bringing us up to speed on what is becoming a problem of epidemic proportions.

    A psychiatrist writes ……….

    … following up the research conducted by my colleague, Dr. Tyn – y – pe Niss, on constructus magna lusticatum , commonly referred to as “shed envy” we have isolated another disturbing syndrome which we have named: constructus magna laudamus , which may be loosely translated for the layman as

    “shed boasting or bragging”.

    Dr. Niss and I were pleased to receive further government funding for additional research into this behaviour, and the full results of this may be seen in our three volume study, “Erectus Ludorum”, available at the modest price of £175 [HMSO.]

    A very brief summary of our main findings are shown below:

    Firstly there would appear to be strong evidence that it is the latter syndrome (c.m. laudamus), which is largely responsible for the occurrence of the first (c.m. lusticatum.)

    Our results clearly show that both syndromes stem from the belief that the larger the shed, the more desirable it may be to others, usually of the opposite sex.

    Therefore, as in our previous research, we chose to ask the partners of our study group for their views on the size and placement of sheds. We found some surprising results.

    When shown pictures of sheds of various sizes, group responses were usually ones of considerable mirth, regardless of size – the well known “Chippendale Effect”.

    However when shown the same pictures individually, where anonymity was guaranteed, the more common “Goldilocks Effect” was observed.

    In this, pictures of all sheds were greeted with a surprising degree of indifference, whilst the pictures of large sheds elicited almost unanimous responses along the lines of:

    “I certainly wouldn’t want an erection of that size anywhere near my garden!”


    “Don’t think you can put anything that size up in my backyard!”

    These results obviously contradict previous male belief, as stated above – that the larger the shed the better. We suspect this false assumption may have been based upon a misinterpretation of a bowdlerised version of the Rhodean School Song heard in formative years, or more likely, a casual reading of the report submitted by the eminent engineer, referred to in our previous study.

    You will recall that his misplaced efforts to produce a construction to satisfy the rather unique requirements of his partner, shed-wise, ended in a particularly tragic manner, and may well have been the cause of his own untimely demise.

    Our report has been warmly received in government circles and, we believe, is largely responsible for the recent, no doubt welcome announcement, confirming that there will be no increase in taxation aimed at those having large sheds.

    In this the Chancellor has, with one hand, undoubtedly pleasured the PM, whilst with the other has, with one stroke, surely brought much needed relief to many of his colleagues.