A matter of convenience


Using the magic that is scheduled posts I thought I would share the story of the bog shed with you whilst I am busy peddling my wares at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate. Yes I am talking toilets. Or bogs as us Brits sometimes call them. Specifically I am talking about a toilet in a shed. A bog shed.

(Bogshed were a very noisy punk band, much loved by my husband, much less loved by me).

When we built my studio a few years ago it was just for me so we didn’t bother plumbing in a bathroom. Instead I learnt to make art in two hour sessions. That being the cycle time to make coffee, drink coffee and for my middle aged bladder to want rid of coffee. It was very tempting to pee in a bucket rather than run the 10 metres or so to the house when it was cold and raining but the system worked.

Until I decided to teach in my studio. We quickly dismissed the idea of using a toilet in the house - we have 2.5 bathrooms but none on the ground floor; husband is rarely ‘human’ before midday and could scare the uninitiated; grandson litters the house with lego and other death traps; and I would have to clean my house loads. (The last reason was the real decider). Option 2 was to built a bathroom in the corner of the studio. But that would have meant sacrificing part of my giant print bench and part of the design wall. Nope. So we settled on option 3 - an outside toilet. Which is kind of funny because our Victorian house actually had an outside toilet when we brought it but we took it down so that we could add another window in the kitchen.

We needed to keep cost down so my father-in-law, Bernard, and son, Joe, took on the project. We lovingly(!) refer to them as ‘bodger and badger’ which will probably only mean anything to those of you in the UK and of a certain age. (Barry Chuckle RIP).

In the meantime my lovely students had to use a portaloo. A very nice one that was serviced and cleaned every week by a lovely man but did start to feel a bit drafty as we moved into autumn. Thank you to the weather gods for giving us mild, dry teaching days!


On paper we only needed a very small shed but then I thought about the added storage potential if we went a bit bigger. And so a 6ft x 8ft shed was ordered and five weeks later it was delivered and installed. Then the fun began. I kept the studio door firmly closed and tried to ignore the crashing and swearing. I did consider leaving the country but thought that might appear a little ungrateful.

First there was insulation. Floor, walls, ceiling, even the door got insulated - snow came early as the garden filled up with polystyrene balls. Then there was flooring, plasterboard, wiring and long consultations about where the toilet and hand basin should go.

Daily trips to B&Q brought more and more lengths of pipe, plastic brackets and bends along with enough electrical cable to surely rewire the whole street but eventually the shed was plumbed and powered up. It was tested by the grandson who, like all 9 year olds, couldn’t aim for toffee. He was officially banned from the bog shed.

A small dividing wall and internal door were added to give a better sense of privacy. Yes, the door is on upside down - there was a reason for this I’m sure. And then it was time for me to start painting and tiling (no way was I letting bodger or badger loose with a paint brush). Some nice soap and towels. Just in time for my day a month students to use a couple of weeks ago. The bog shed is officially open (except to Riley who is still banned).