A man’s shed is his sanctum.
Not quite a castle, but still, pretty damn significant.
Inside is a microcosm of life itself. That might sound like wanky bullshit, but seriously, the inner workings of a shed are an exercise in success and failure and frustrations and tribulations and obstacles and experiments and triumph. And for most modern men, the shed is one of few retreats where we can harness the most innate form of human expression – creativity.
(Yes, believe it or not, there is creative thinking that goes on in a shed. Sometimes, at least.)
It’s also where we can drink beer. Yeah. Beer.
So, to be invited into another man’s shed is a real fig leaf of friendship. When a man invites another man to work in his shed, what he’s really saying to them is, “you’re welcome to come into this part of my life where I go to escape everything else, and where I have hundreds, or possibly thousands, of dollars of tools in various states of order, and I trust you enough to respect and maintain all that.”
Of course, there are no words exchanged in this transaction. Because that’s not what men do. There might be a few grunts, or maybe even a “carn, let’s go the shed,” or a “yeah, no worries,” in response to any shed-related request.
And it was very much in this fashion that my good mate, Ben, allowed me to use his shed over the winter to work on my new car, a 1998 Troop Carrier.
I bought the car back in June, 2019, after six months of scouring the internet almost every day. They are a rare bird, these vehicles. Renowned for their longevity and rugged capabilities, they hold their value through a lifetime of what can be up to one and a half million clicks.
Yes, you read that right.
1.5 million kilometres.
I bought mine for a relative bargain. He wanted 15k. I got it for 12. An older model with all mechanical components; easy to fix, should something go wrong. 260k on the mighty six-cylinder diesel motor. The interior a bare shell to be fitted out how I want. Fully resprayed, minimal rust, and in showroom condition.
Or so I thought.
Turns out the respray was concealing all the bogged-up rust holes. No biggie, but a bit of a dampener. Then, above the rear barn doors, a visible section of rust where someone had done a slipshod job of installing a reversing camera turned out to be a major fucking can of worms. Whole section of roof had to be cut out. New section welded in. Gaps bogged up and sanded and painted again.
You can’t polish a turd, as they say. But you can roll it in glitter.
Still, after a bit of rust-preventative fish oil sprayed through the inner-panels, and some paint and a bit of cut-and-polish on the outside, this turd was glistening like a Rockpool mignon fillet de boeuf in a red wine jus.
A caca of the finest order.
A few weekends later, and the Troopy is well on its way to a finished fit-out. Whole thing’s been gutted and cleaned and rust-proofed and sound-proofed. Now to rebuild the interior. Electrical system to go in this weekend. A drawer system and a little office set-up after that. Soon the tinny will be gettin’ hoisted up on the roof and my girlfriend and dog and I will be going one way onto an open highway and down plenty of dirt tracks.
It hasn’t been an easy ride, that’s for sure. There’s been plenty of cussing and woo-hoos! and aching bones and chemically stained hands and empty beer cans along the way.
But that’s a metaphor for life, I guess.
And thanks to Benno for letting me use his shed.