Monday 19 March 2012

Delapidation to destruction

I can’t help thinking there’s something rather beautiful about this.

Neglected, abandoned and no longer of use, this is the old shed that just about stands at the end of the garden.  Until yesterday one side was completely draped in thick ivy; you can see where I’ve pulled most of it away, leaving just a few remains of its tenacious twisting branches clinging on with hundreds of feathery feet, like centipedes.

The ivy found its way inside too…

Growing without sunlight has blocked its colour, now it just blends into the wood of the shed as if it’s always been a part of it, as if it sprouted from the walls.

The end is nigh, though, and in the next few weeks this old outbuilding is coming down.

I’m looking forward to breaking it up.  I’ve already started pulling away the roof and clearing the ground around it, finding old bricks and dirty pots hidden under the ivy roots, where I rescued a few snails…

…and I’ve become a little addicted to this process of deconstruction. There is something about the mindlessness of it.   I usually spend my days trying to be creative, forming things from scratch and using my brain to work out how.  When I’m outside in the fresh air, pulling, smashing and battering, nothing matters.  The order doesn’t matter, nor does the mess.   Filth, cracks, rips and holes don’t matter.  And neither does my grey matter…!   It’s so invigorating – and yet therapeutic.  I recommend it.

I think there must be something very basic and instinctive which makes physical activity outdoors feel so good, especially if you’re not used to it.  Perhaps it tunes into a sort of ancestral memory from caveman days.  If I was male, I might think it’s also the testosterone….but, as a female, well…?!  Hmm, I’ll let you know if I start growing hairs on my chest by the time the old shed is completely destroyed.  Delapidation to depilation in just a few short easy steps.


  1. I love tearing things down and taking them apart.

  2. Last year I decided to get rid of an old greenhouse which was already in the garden when I bought the house.....I went to B&Q and bought myself a sledgehammer....

    I became a 'man possessed' and literally couldn't stop myself smashing it to be bits.

  3. I always enjoy seeing Mother Nature reclaim the world for herself. I read somewhere that if we were all wiped out tomorrow, it would take a lot less time than we think for all evidence of our existence to completely disappear.

    On that cheery thought....

    1. Oh, here's where:

  4. Thanks for comments, all! I feel a bit embarrassed really at publicising the terrible state of that old shed, what with rusty saws, etc. in situ too - but it was there when we moved here (honest, guv), just as your greenhouse was, EXPO 67 (I can just imagine that sound of breaking glass...) Only we just should have got rid of it long, long ago. Although there is something oddly appealing about it being reclaimed by nature - thanks for link, A. Book looks interesting and reminded me I saw some of a TV prog/series(?) some years ago that demonstrated what would happen with a time-lapse simulation type thing and was incredible.
    Nice way of looking at it, Yve, thanks - and then the space will be replaced by a proper nice shed'n'all.
    Plus it seems like everyone might have fun joining in with the (creative) destruction process...I'd invite you if I could - is there such a thing as a shed-smashing party?!

  5. I'd like to have seen you in action...I bet that was something.

    Your thoughts on the release that destruction can bring are very interesting.

    Don't know if you would ever have had reason to read Joanna Bourke's Intimate History of Killing but it's got some fascinating sections on this. One important premise of the book is that veterans of combat are often silent about their experiences, not because they were horrified but, because they enjoyed it so much...they don't want people to think their monsters.

    There's an especially captivating passage where a man describes the aesthetic beauty of explosions, of destruction...and the power high he got from it. All it took was the wiggle of his finger.

    1. Ooh, that's very thought-provoking, thanks. I can understand in those instances it may be about power, control, anger and release, however hard it is to get my head around the awfulness of their particular circumstances. In my case, 'cause I'm not really into power! - I guess it's the total freedom that makes it fun. Being able to 'not care' for a change. Oh and about seeing a difference, about making a difference, albeit in a 'destructive' way. And disengaging brain!
      I love seeing footage of when they demolish/blow up old industrial chimneys and blocks of flats etc. though...all done in slow-mo. That just looks good! Don't know why!


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