When my mum turned sixty she knew that she has one big chance to ask for anything she wanted, it was likely that another opportunity for a big birthday present might not come up again for another twenty years and she was ready to grab it with both hands. She obviously had a number of years to consider her request and what she asked for ,a summer house, really was her dream. 

When my dad, who in this case was the considerer and provider of all massive requests heard this one, he agreed it was a good suggestion and one that I dare say he may have had designs on himself.

Thus followed a series of summer house searching trips.  I was quite surprised by this attempt to find and purchase a summer house, it’s not very typical of my parents approach to life and I would have been very shocked to have seen a lorry delivering a fully made up PVC window clad shed to their wonderful and character filled garden.

It was no surprise then that the search was fruitless and my dad embarked on a two year birthday present making pursuit which clearly didn’t make the deadline.

 The time he put into simply designing this little summer house was in itself admirable, the initial desins were sketched and then further tinkered with on the computer, measured and re measured and then adjusted as friends heard of the project and offered bits and pieces from the dark corners of their own sheds. Over the course of the next two years the foundations were laid and the bare wooden structure of the summer house appeared.

Needless to say the building project did suck up a lot more time than my dad had allowed for, it ate into his work time, it popped up in his dreams, at times the pace of work got him down, there’s no doubt about it, this was not a day long, barn raising style build!

It was only this summer in the frantic build up to the garden wedding that my dad was happy to pronounce the summer house finally finished! Already this little building has started to claim it’s own character, it has hosted birthday afternoon tea, picnics, sleepy sundays and staying up chatting into the wee small hours.

For my mum, she has her dream, hopefully she will find the time to relax and enjoy it.

For my dad, he has created a summer house previously dreamed of, not just some square box  that you can buy off the shelf but one that fits the space, does the job, looks that part and incorporates all the bits that were lying around in the back of peoples sheds and needed a place.

But for me, when I look at the summer house I see a birthday present that has taken more man hours and more splintered fingers than I can ever imagine putting into a gift. It’s a legacy of love and a place for growing older together.