Like most small kids growing up in the Sixties I played outside a lot. The garden, the street, the ginnels and snickets, all used by my pals and me.
One place, however, was off the play list. Our garden shed.
Our garden shed was a small brick extension to the back of the house. You could see its wooden door and window side-on from the kitchen window, which looked out onto the garden.
The shed's window said it all. It was draped in thick spiders' webs hanging like ragged lace curtains straight out of a Hammer horror. The occasional twitch wasn't from any nervous hand. It was from the death throes of one of the spiders' latest victims, usually a chubby bluebottle, as it tried to free itself from the gothic floss.
The whole shed was like that, full of spiders' webs and some of the biggest spiders in the world! My Dad's workbench was relatively safe, as was the chest freezer where we kept all the pies. but if you stumbled whilst opening the huge lid you would inevitably brush up against the hanging sheets of death covering the corners of the old brick wall.
I would imagine that clusters of dark beady eyes were massing in the crannies just waiting for a larger lunch! I was sure it was their ravenous dribble that was dissolving the white wash on the inside walls, which flaked and cracked like ageing skin, which had never seen the Butlins sun.
The biggest spiders, however, were in the toilet at the back of the shed. To use these outside facilities was taking your life into your own hands so to speak. Gangly death walkers were everywhere round the door, guards of the lair within, where something dwelt that kept even them from entering.
After thumbing the huge iron latch, the thick wooden door would growl as it slowly opened. A musty odour of urine, mould and something else rose to greet you and helped instantly to make the biggest decision of your life, you would leave the door open and never sit down down!
With your back to the real world, the enormous cracked cauldron of a loo yawned in front of you like the U bend to Hell. You aimed and attempting to act normal, read the name printed on the rim: Armitage Shanks and wondered if you would ever meet a man with such an incredible name.
As you relaxed into a good pee your eyes were drawn to that most hideous of features, the small loo window sill. If there was a lair, it was here, amongst the unused Vim canister and the full bottle of Izal Pine Disinfectant, tall sentries for the monarch within.
I never saw the King of the spiders but I think I glimpsed parts of him once or twice, a hairy leg, a shed skin or a shiney damp back. I'm glad I never saw the whole, for like Medusa, I think he would have turned me to stone, a statue for his torture garden, his own Mannekin Pis! I ran from the toilet screaming like Ingrid Pitt before it ever got that far!
Years later the garden shed would become the workshop of dreams in my early teens, when Kung Fu swept the western world, but that's a memory for another day.
What was your shed like readers?