We called it 'Stephen's Summerhouse'. Named after Alec's dad, as it had been bought with a small inheritance that came after Stephen's death. He was a kind, placid, peaceful person and we could both imagine that he would approve of such a quiet haven, under the oak tree and by the pond, so 'Stephen's summerhouse' it became.
I've spent many hours in there over the last eighteen years, with journal and laptop, watching the wildlife at the water's edge and listening to the birdsong from the trees, but in the last three or four years it has become something of a dumping ground for garden furniture, deteriorated more when the roof felting was ripped off in a storm last autumn and was finally invaded by ivy growing in through decaying wood corners which needed serious attention.
Something needed to be done - and so it was that I resolved to spend the last few weeks on a period of renovation there - both to return the little room to use for our own pleasure, but also to give a writing point in the garden where attendees to my therapeutic writing courses may, in future, squirrel themselves away if they choose.
I painted the interior to begin with, and alongside that I've also painted the motley collection of furniture in there to give some semblance of unity. I've chosen a vaguely Scandinavian 'Gustavian' colour palette to create a tranquil atmosphere, and set out with the intention of spending as little as possible on the project, attempting to use junk furniture, old pots of paint, off-cuts of flooring and old textiles where I can find them.
The following series of photographs catalogue some of the steps I have taken so far - almost there, but there is always something else to add. (Oh, goodness me! Does this mean I am going to have to visit even *more* antique and curio shops, street markets and boot sales? How will I ever cope? Watch this space!)
Pictures of a fieldmouse and a hare from the loft; cross-stitched runner draped over the desk until it is stencilled; the old curtains previously installed looking even nicer because they had faded and also been bleached to remove damp mould.
So who's for tea with me in the summerhouse??