Allotment: It’s all I’ve dreamed of in a shed...

OUR up-the-road-friend, Matt ‘the Fence’ is an amiable chap who has nothing to do with the receiving and disposing of stolen goods. In fact, as the owner of Felixstowe Fencing, he makes a living as a carpenter, fencer and, oftentimes, builder of beach huts.

It transpires the diluvian conditions don’t suit would-be beach dwellers, so Matt the Fence has time for other projects.

Over a pint I asked him what he’s like when it comes to sheds.

“No problem,” he replied. “What have you got in mind?”

“Have you, by any chance, read The Far Pavilions by M.M.Kaye?” I asked. “…the romantic novel set in the days of the British Raj?”

“No,” said Matt the Fence. “I’m more a John Grisham sort of man.”

In my mind’s eye our prospective shed has a majestic timbered verandah, glazed porch and selection of hammocks.

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It is the place we recline at 6pm, gently swaying in rocking chairs drinking gin and tonic while batting away mosquitoes and gazing out over the estate.

“Only don’t get too excited,” said Matt the Fence. “I’ve done allotment sheds before. They’re pretty strict about that sort of thing. You can’t have anything bigger than a six by four.”

“Oh,” I said, thinking there goes the punkawallah.

The next few days are spent on the allotments, umbrellas up, scaling as many polytunnels, outhouses and lean-tos as we can access without police intervention.

“I think this could be a seven by five,” says the Co-Allotmenteer, whose shoe size measure a perfect foot.

“And I think this may be a 12 by 10,” I squeak victoriously (my feet are much smaller).

In the end, Matt the Fence comes up with a seven by five: two windows, sloping roof, timber cladded and with a floor made from a reconstituted beach hut.

It is everything I have ever dreamed of in a shed. Minus the ceiling fans.

* News just in from giant veg maestro Dave Coles who has promised me two of his giant marrow seedlings.

He said: “When you plant them out make sure you position the marrow seedlings close to a pane of glass on top of the soil. That way they sort of glide as they grow and get much bigger.”

I nod sagely. It’s the closest thing to a Taj Ma’rrow I am likely to get.