MGC News – July 2020

MGC conversations with Richard Mixture, July 2020

When is a garage a shed?
Hello again, it’s Richard here. The other day I sat down and had a little bit of a think. With all this COVID lockdown stuff happening, our lives, that is Mrs Mixture and me, have not changed much. Sure, we haven’t visited some of our friends in a while and it’s given me a wonderful opportunity to think about all the jobs I need to do. One of course is cleaning up the shed. I thought it would be a good idea, in fact I thought it would be a good idea several times, and, unfortunately, I’m still thinking it’s a good idea to clean up my shed.

Anyway, talking about sheds, have you ever travelled from Aldgate to Mylor along Strath Rd in the Adelaide Hills? Well just before you get to Mylor, in fact it’s approximately, about 396 meters roughly, before the 50kph sign, look to the left, across the valley and you’ll see a Nissen Hut. I just think there’s an opportunity begging to do a bit of artwork on the door. If I owned the place I’d paint the door black indicating a shadow inside and then paint a number of MGs on it so that people passing by would think that the person who lives there is a collector of MGs. There might be a problem though as the size of the painted MGs would be quite small. A better idea would be to paint a Tiger Moth and if that is still too small maybe a better option would be to paint an Airbus A380. The A380 idea might present another problem because to make it look authentic you would have to attach wings to the Nissen Hut and that might create a dilemma in high winds.

Anyway, I had a little think about some of the sheds I’ve visited around the home of our nice, young Register Co-ordinator, you know who I mean, Ian. David, who lives next door to Ian’s home, had to find a temporary home for his parent’s furniture as they were moving house. He chose to build a new shed; in fact, he built the biggest shed he could without seeking council approval, so it measures 5m x 3m. All I can say is that his parents must have had a very small house, or it is a new model of TARDIS.

Across the road from David lives Mark and Sally. A while back Sally decided to convert their garage into a granny flat for their teenage daughter. While they did a wonderful job, all I can say is that it’s a waste of a good garage.

Next door to Mark and Sally’s home is Jane and Peter who live on a ten-acre block. During the first summer Peter the Pom decided to mow the paddocks with a normal household Victor mower – it took him ages, but I can say he’s a quick learner because he never did that again. To keep the grass down they bought six sheep, two alpacas and a pony and a little later a horse was added to their menagerie. The animals were so effective that they had to buy hay to feed them in summer. Several rounds were bought and placed in a large hay shed that the previous owner had built. The only other things in this 12m x 5m shed are a few offcuts of poly-pipe and a lot of space. Even their trailer lives outside next to the shed. All I can say is that it’s a waste of a good shed.

Next to Jane and Peter’s place is Paul and Gloria. They both know what a shed is for. Gloria is a fanatic Ford fan and drives around in a large Ford Territory and Paul drives their 1966 Ford Galaxie which tows their colour matched, 1966 vintage Millard caravan. There’s also a 1970s BMW convertible in their shed plus an old petrol pump and a few old signs. Now they know what a shed is really for.

Around the corner is Martin and Sue who have a rudimentary, two car, steel shed with a dirt floor where they keep their two cars, one French and one Japanese. The C3 is cute but the Triton is just plain common.

Out the back of Ian’s home is a large 12-acre property with an old shed where the tenant’s keep their firewood. The previous owner rebuilt this ancient, old shed as it was listing to the east at a sharper angle than Italy’s Leaning Tower in Pizza, (did I spell that right?). The timber frame of the old shed had been dined upon by several sittings of white ants. The previous owner, Jon, did not want to incur council fees from building a new shed so he embarked on a few repairs. He replaced the dusty timber frame with a new one, replaced the roof timbers and reclad the shed in second hand corrugated iron just so it would look as if it had been there for the last 40 years. During autumn, the tenants fill the shed up with tons of firewood and empty it out over winter. I can’t believe how much firewood they consume – I’m sure it would have to add a statistical significance to Australia’s global warming figure. Anyway, Jon used to keep his tractor in that old shed, which is a reasonable thing to do.

At the end of the road are my old mates Phyllis and Colin. He owned a ZA Magnette once. When he first bought the place, there was a large carport along the length of his house, it is about 12 metres long. Not only that, it’s quite wide by about 8 metres. Some people would like a shed that big, and Colin thought so too. So, he enclosed the end and included a couple of windows to light the inside. He enclosed the side and fitted a frame at the other end to mount a large roller-door that he brought from his old home. Next came the concrete floor to seal it completely.

Before he installed the roller-door, Colin decided to fit benches and storage selves and cabinets and a few pieces garage equipment such as an air compressor, a grinder, drill press, a lathe, a fridge and more storage. By the time he moved all his stuff in he discovered he had a problem, it wouldn’t fit in. His radial arm saw was sticking out the door and so was his steel bench. Needless to say the roller-door never did go up, but was replaced with a large tarpaulin stretching out like a lean-to shed. Over the years Colin has bought more stuff and managed to fit it into his carport/shed. The windows are about 80% covered with stuff, making a head torch mandatory when entering. As I have said before, if you want to enter Colin’s shed you need to be slimmer than a skinny rat to negotiate the two passageways. Phyllis calls it “Colin’s shed of discovery”.

Around the corner and down the road lived a mate of mine, Steve, who is a very clever woodworker. A woman rang him asking for help a few years back. After a fire at her home a much-loved chair suffered some damage. As it was a family heirloom she wondered if Steve could help repair it. She arrived at Steve’s workshop with the remains of the chair – there was one front leg, one arm, part of the front rail and part of the rear seat and a few charred remains. Nearly 80% of the chair was missing. Steve contemplated this ‘repair’ and decided to take on the job. After a lot of work and checking with his client he completed the timber frame and it was ready for upholstery. Once it was finished the client was over the moon as it looked just like the original chair. Steve’s a very clever artisan.

Now back to the story about sheds. Steve started working in a normal single car garage that was built about 50 years ago. He needed a music studio as well as a wood working shop but electronic equipment and saw dust are not mutually compatible, so he extended the shed so that it was twice as long. While the dividing wall was well constructed, saw dust still found its way into the music studio.

There was another shed on the property that needed a bit of work so Steve thought if he made it weatherproof and extended it a bit, it would be perfect for his woodwork shop. The extension added about two and half meters to his space totalling 7.6m x 5.8m, with a timber floor and large windows looking out over the Onkaparinga River. He built a bench along the windows and a radial arm saw, a drill press, a thicknesser, a grinder and a sanding machine lined the walls. There was even space under the shed to store timber. His old shed was turned into a timber storage area too.

Lots of beautiful pieces of furniture have been produced here including my desk, made from two thick slabs of Norfolk Island pine and some recycled Jarrah floorboards and joists. The desk is just over three meters long which is just large enough to store all my junk on it. Sometimes I wish it was four metres long but then I come to my senses and clean up the mess.

Oh, by-the-way, Steve’s old Subaru sat outside in the sun and rain. I guess there are some exceptions where a shed is put to good use and there’s not a car in site.

Remember ladies and gentlemen keep ‘em tuned and stay well,