Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Sheds


A lot of men have sheds.  A lot of men spend a lot of time in their sheds.  Other people, mainly women, either get irritated with, or ridicule men who have sheds and spend a lot of time in them.  Father’s garage was his shed.  He had two real sheds but he preferred his garage.  It was big.  In addition to the cars, it had room for work benches and shelves, neat tool racks, space for whatever carpentry job he was working on (he liked to build garden benches), room for his comfy chair, a two ring hob and a hi-fi on which he used to listen to Richard Tauber.  It was bloody draughty and in winter perishing cold but he liked it.  As young men, I have to confess, we boys thought he was a little barmy.  After all, he could have been sitting comfortably in his wing back surrounded by his beloved books being warmed by a roaring fire. Instead, he preferred his cold and damp garage.  What on earth possesses men and makes them yearn for uncomfortable solitude?  His body was found there after a search party was sent looking for him when he failed to show for dinner.  He had spent all day in there, had finished another bench and had died.

These last few days have been an official holiday in Angola.  Tuesday was Carnival and no-one could expect the Angolans to turn up for work today after a heavy night’s partying so today was declared a holiday as well.  Since there was only one day between weekend and Carnival Tuesday, no one went to work on Monday either.  For the weekend and the next three days, therefore, four of Marcia’s nieces and nephews have been staying.  Martha is six, Fininha is thirteen, so is Ju and Mauro is ten.  Oddly enough, Alex at five is Mauro’s uncle.  They were here to enjoy themselves and keep little Alex company.

This morning, there was a lot of shouting from Marcia who wheeled a very frightened little Alex into the house and demanded that I gave him a hiding.  Regular readers will know that I have never laid a hand on a child.  Apparently, in the shop, he had dropped his shorts and swung his pelvis to and fro as if giving something a good rooting.  I was shocked.  The best thing, as always when dealing with a woman verging on hysteria, is to do nothing so I sent Alex to his room.  Just in case my female readers, of which I know I have many, think I am being sexist, well I am.  I usually punch hysterical men or, if they are much bigger than me, hit them with something heavy enough to leave a lasting impression.  Hysterical women who want to thrash their child with a length of garden hose are protected by law.

Talking to the nieces, slowly the story came out.  Marcia, now calm, had taken the truck to run an errand so it was easy for me to be my normal soft self and let the kids do the talking.

It wasn’t exactly Alex’s fault, they said.  Sure, he had dropped his keks in public but only after Claudio, that snot bag Marcia employs to look after the shop, had shown them all pornographic videos on his telephone.  They used the term, ‘Filmes de sexo’, sex films.

‘Honestly, Uncle Tom!  We did not look at them!’ They pleaded after misinterpreting my expression.  ‘Will Mummy beat me Daddy?’ Alex asked.

‘No one is going to beat anyone.’ I lied.

‘When did he show you the videos?’ I asked.

‘Already on the first day,’ one of them replied.

‘And again today?’

‘Yes.’

They have been here three days.  For three days this despicable pervert has been collaring the kids.

I told the kids to sit down on the sofa and watch TV.  I wanted to keep them busy so they did not witness what would happen next.  Best that this time they could honestly say they did not know.  I made it halfway across the garden, but Alex had followed me so I took him back inside.  ‘Can you make me some corflecks?’ He asked.  So I poured him a bowl of cornflakes.  I knew it would all end in tears if I gave way to the overwhelming desire to drag the scrote into the garden and kick the life out of him.  Better to wait for Marcia’s return and explain everything to her, then surely I would be allowed to cut him.  In the meantime, it occurred to me, he may twig something was up and delete the evidence.  I needed his phone.  I marched into the shop.  He was just making a phone call so I grabbed his wrist, gave his arm a gentle twist and caught the phone as it fell from suddenly lifeless fingers.

Now I don’t know about you, but I am pretty hopeless with phones.  All I want out of a phone is that it rings to let me know I have an incoming call as well as allowing me to make calls.  I had no idea how to access any videos on Claudio’s phone so I asked the girls.  They did not know either, so I persevered and found them.  I have seen plenty of hardcore porn in my time and this ranked right up there with the most explicit.

Marcia arrived home and I told her.  She went mad.  She screamed at the kids and demanded to know what had happened.  Frightened, they said they did not know.  She took them over to the shop to confront Claudio.  Now they had to stare the man they had accused in the face.  They folded.  It was suggested that Claudio had left his phone on charge, they had swiped it unbeknown to him and searched through it themselves.   Marcia insisted I returned Claudio’s phone.  I told Claudio he could report me to the police.  Marcia told Claudio to come to the house where we could discuss it.  I told Claudio if he set foot in my house I would kill him.

This was going to go nowhere so I rang Mauro’s father.  He said he was in a meeting and would call back.  He did not.  A couple of hours later I rang again and told him what had happened.  At least I tried but he cut me off saying he would call me back.  He didn’t.  Marcia came into the lounge and demanded I handed over Claudio’s phone.  I said I needed to talk to someone first.  Marcia laughed and said that if I was waiting for Roger to call, I’d have a long wait; she had already spoken to him and explained everything.  Everyone, she told me, knows I hate Claudio. This was probably true.  He is an oily, thieving, lying git, it is just that Marcia cannot see what I see every time she is away in town.  So that was it.  This was all down to my dislike for the bastard.  She told me it was her job to see fair play.  I told her it was my job to protect the kids.  I gave her the phone.

I could not bear to be in the same room as Marcia so I grabbed my fags and went out into the garden.  I wasn’t going anywhere near the shop so that left me few options.  I strolled across to Stalag Luft III and noticed I had forgotten to nail a section of netting down so I did that.  Then I made some handles for the door.  Inside I nailed up a couple of beams for the birds to perch upon.  With the sun dappling the netting, partially shaded as it was by palm fronds, I realized this was quite a nice place to sit, if only I had something to sit on.  The kids came over and asked if there was anything they could do.  So I made myself a garden bench and they helped.  We sat on it.  The seat was just the right height, it was very comfortable.  I lit a cigarette and took a long drag.  Peace and quiet, the tranquillity of nature, the kid’s faces glowing, knowing that they had helped, that I was not mad at them; it was a little bit of paradise.

Then it dawned on me.  I had made my own shed.

52 comments:

  1. I'm not sure that I would have resisted the temptation to beat ten bells out of the little shit. Nothing makes me feel quite that protective as when I think my kids are at risk from anyone. I don't suppose that he may fall down the stairs a few times when leaving the shop?

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    1. It is fortunate that Alex followed me, it allowed time for me to cool down just enough.

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  2. Gotta love a shed, leetle bit shocked at the rest of it. Not that there is porn, and I havn't been following long so I may have missed the point but that geezer needs the out of him. Am a leetle bit shocked at such restraint. This woman would be inside a police cell.

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    1. Had I succumbed to the urge, so would I have been.

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  3. Good job on the shed. Good place, too. I am so sorry justice for Claudio went awry; I put utmost faith in "what goes around comes around." May you also be nearby to be witness.

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    1. Sometimes justice works slowly but inexorably...

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  4. Sorry, but I don't understand how a mother can take the side of someone like that... or have him in close proximity to her child let alone the nieces and nephews. I would be terrified for those little girls especially. Keep a close eye on them please.

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    1. it's common for mothers to behave that way, the alternative is way too scary

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    2. Not something I could understand either. I rather thought I would find myself in the bizarre situation of having to protect him from Marcia.

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  5. just let me know, i will be on the way to angola to kick the shit out of him and shove that phone up his butt! what a perv!

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  6. you did a fabulous job: following up on something odd and trusting the kids. most kids are never given the gift of an adult who trusts them, especially not in this type of situation.

    i wouldnt mind a shed myself, especially with a garden seat

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    1. Faced with a choice of 'trusting' it out of them or beating it out of them, I know which method is more likely to extract the truth and instil confidence in the future..

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  7. Allowing Claudio to remain anywhere near your premises puts your child and others at risk. The evidence of that stuff on his phone should be enough to hang him in any court. They did not see that stuff without him showing them. He did so be cause he was getting off on it. Get rid of that piece of shit immediately. Smash his kneecaps if need be.Turn that phone in to the police and let them at him.

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    1. My thoughts exactly but;

      It is not an offence to have pornographic material on one's phone.
      The kids will make lousy witnesses.
      A plausible (?!) means of access to the material has been suggested.
      My motives for reporting him are in question.
      If I assault him, with my previous here, I will be arrested and deported. Who will look out for the children then?

      No. I have to figure out another way.

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  8. Oh my god, Tom, I can't even imagine dealing with a pervert like that. He would never, ever be anywhere near those children again if it were me. He deserves to have the snot beaten out of him.

    Good for you for trusting the children. They will know in the future that they can come to you for help in any circumstance. You're good dad (and uncle).

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    1. I agree with the first part wholeheartedly but have to tread carefully, Regarding the second part, thank you. All I can do is be approachable as I can so the kids trust me to always act in their best interest.

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  9. Sack him! You really don't want people like him around (they have them in Downing Street too).

    One of my winter projects was to build myself a shed at Haddock's. It needed to contain my gardening tools, machinery, and seed boxes, as well as a comfortable chair, wine rack, and bottle opener. That's all I want; simple.

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    1. I really need Marcia to sack him, she is his man after all. I could force the issue but that would leave me with serious, irreconcilable doubts about Marcia. I will give her time to think about it before I make my move.

      My 'shed' is a large shade netted enclosure but, since it very rarely rains here, I don't need walls or roof!

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  10. i know you will handle this well, in due time; you havent made it this far in life without being the wise man that you are. No child, no matter what the culture, needs to be exposed to and have their childhood abused by/taken away by some pedophile's whim...

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  11. Your description of Angolan holidays resonates, as it follows a similar pattern here. No wonder it takes forever to get anything done. Redoing the ceilings of the carport and the swimming pool changing rooms was approved in August, but remains incomplete for any number of reasons, including endless holidays, (Christmas - Christ, it's Thailand), and soon Songkran (the Thai new year) will provide a resonable excuse to do nothing until after it, in mid April, by which stage it will be the beginning of the rainy season. But I digress.

    Can't say I understand Mrs Hippo's leniency with the pornster. Out, out damn spot I say. Anyway, it sounds as though you will need a serious discussion with madam on the two issues.

    I presume "grabbed my fags" is a technical term for the electronic thingy?

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    1. I was much bemused by the native Memsahib's reaction.

      Sadly, it was too much for me to ditch the whisky and the cigarettes so fags, I am afraid, means fags. Last night, unable to sleep (I had elected to demonstrate my disapproval of Marcia's attitude not by shouting at her but by making my bed on the sofa), I nearly cracked. I badly wanted a whisky but was determined not to allow that shit to be responsible for yet more household distress.

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    2. Good on you. Stay strong, those kids need you around and sober.

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  12. Let's forget the porn issue for a moment. It happens. The Angel must have been around ten or eleven when he came to me, as white as a sheet, saying: "Mama, can you come and have a look?" By accident he had stumbled on some site. Yes, interesting. Always thought only gynaecologists see a woman's anatomy from that angle. Where Marcia went wrong, and please tell her from me: Don't get excited. Sex is part of everyone's life. Even little Alex's. Time better spent to explain not so much pollen and bees as giving little morsels of how it is. Won't be long anyway before he'll follow in his father's footsteps - as any testosterone driven youngster will.

    Sheds? My dear Tom, I currently don't have a garden But, once upon a time, I sure did have a shed. Which I loved. Whereas the most important men in my life (other than my grandfather and his sons, my uncles) never showed any interest in that most manly retreat. None whatsoever. I even mowed my own lawn. Still, to be fair: Father of son and I shared a study. We had two large desks - opposite each other. And one of the drawers in his he called - rather stirringly, almost heartbreaking to me - his "emotional centre." I have no idea what was in there. I don't snoop. I suppose it was his equivalent to many a man's shed.

    U

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    1. I disagree. It is not for some stranger to introduce a five year old to graphic pornography.

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    2. What bit are you disagreeing with?

      You misunderstand, Tom. My reply was meant to calm troubled waters. Of course, as you say, it isn't "for some stranger to introduce a five year old to graphic pornography". However, in order to limit damage (aren't you the expert?), in a situation like the above, a parent needs to stay calm. Not reinforce the message by threatening a belting because a five year old re-enacts something he has no idea about. I feel very strongly about this. Plenty of kids wave their willies about, have pissing contests, even with their own father (remember?). But to convey to Alex, as Marcia did, that there is something punishable about it is totally age inappropriate. I meant to keep out of that aspect of your narrative. But there it is.

      How to make a bad situation worse. Fact is: Children are very resilient. And sometimes the less we fuss over something the better. Shit happens. It's how you deal with it as a parent that counts. If you think about it, Tom, and I know you and I are on the same wavelength here: So his mother gets hysterical over her little son dropping his boxers. How does that actually inform him as to his future sexuality of which he currently knows little? I am glad you didn't take her "instructions". Sometimes, not least by physical punishment, you reinforce the very thing you try to avoid.

      I hope you will be ok with me being a little forceful in this. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to act age appropriate. My son is in his early Twenties. He (and his friends) say that they know of no other parent they can come to with their (emotional and sexual) joys and woes, in as frank a manner, as they come to me. Want the recipe?

      U

      PS Not exactly an afterthought: If I understand your narrative correctly surely this episode will have caused some lingering tension between Marcia and you. Children don't like tension between their parents. Marcia has a lot of thinking to do - preferably before she acts (next time). And remind her - how did my son put it: There is no stronger bond than that between son and mother. I hope she'll act accordingly. Otherwise you just fuck up your son. By which I don't mean Oedipus. As an aside: Poor guy. He didn't even know what he was doing. Neither did his mother. Not that ignorance prevents punishment.

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    3. Ursula, you could not be further from the truth. Have you ever been a victim of one of these creeps? I was at the age of 6. I won't go in to the horrid details, but It ruined my perception on the subject mater FOR LIFE. It creates an incredible level of confusion, insecurity and instability. Particularly so if it is allowed to persist. Children are not resilient. They are adaptive. Meaning they take it in and it plays a part in their psychological development, and it is not a positive effect at all. All the contrary it is absolutely devastatingly destructive. Particularly so with a precocious and perceptive child like Alex. He did not make up that behavior on his own. He was taught that and likely encouraged by the examples shown to him by the pervert in the store, who did so because it provided sexual arousal for him to show this shit to those children. Having that crap on his phone may not be illegal in Angola but surely showing it to the children must be a crime.
      Tom, if you allow this piece of excrement to remain on your premisses knowing what you do and having seen the evidence you will be as culpable as he is. I beg you do not in any manner shape or form be lenient on this pervert. Your child is in danger. Personally a one way fishing trip with the creep and your CZ in my opinion is not to mild. Otherwise set the conditions so that the creep fears for his life and seeks to get as far away from you and your family as he can. And 24-7 digital camera monitoring of the store (preferably hidden) and other likely premises is absolutely in order as well.

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    4. Silvius, you say I "could not be further from the truth". I am very close to the truth. Truth being that, yes, parents are fiercely protective, As they should be as indeed my father was. Any father I know. Indeed, I myself (a mother). I'd fucking kill for my son. And that's a promise. And a threat.

      Take it further: Someone spiked my drink a couple of years ago (I nearly died). My son, so laid back as to be horizontal, went ballistic and swore to kill whoever if he found out who had done that to me. That's not the way to go about it. I understand the notion. But don't act on it.

      You say children are 'not resilient' (my point) but 'adaptive'. I maintain that children are resilient (depending on their parents' reaction) but cannot dispute your point that they may be 'adaptive'. Though, in my experience, not if the child has an open relationship with their parent (assuming the parent isn't the abuser).

      There was a time when parents would raise an eyebrow when children played 'doctors'. A child explores the world. Reflects what he sees, feels, touches. With far more innocence than an adult gives them credit for. Flasher in the park. Great. What else have you got to show me? Bring it on. Mostly: Run. Fast.

      When I was little I was told what to watch out for. There were as many creeps, if not more so, out then as they are now. Yes, we want to protect our children. But the way to go about is not to shout and scream. Growing up is a slow process. But a progressing process.

      If nothing else, apart from his personal concerns, Tom has highlighted that we live in the digital age. And what is being served up there is - I don't know because I don't go there - but by all accounts at times vile. Which brings us neatly to 'parental controls'. Give me a break. I never put 'parental controls' into place. Parenthood is not an exercise in boot camp. Build a relationship - as I believe Tom is doing - with your children and they'll trust you and come to you.

      None of the above, Silvius, is meant to diminish your own experience.

      I do agree with you that Tom needs to take action (preferably without an ashtray). But he is caught between a rock and Marcia's hard place.

      Main thing, for any parent to realize, as hard as it is - and it is hard: There is only so much we can protect our children from. And that includes our ADULT children.

      U

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    5. Ursula, you are free to comment, not to lecture.

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    6. Tom, sorry I took the time 'to comment, not to lecture'.

      U

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    7. Ursula: I really fail to understand your laid back attitude about this circumstance. The difference here being the age of the victim and the issue of and adult choosing to expose a child to depravities for his own personal satisfaction. Your 12 year old son showing you what he found on the web is quite different than the situation we are talking about. An 11 or 12 yr old has some level of understanding of the functioning of things and are starting to experience their own feelings about sexuality. Premature exposure to it causes confusion and instability because they they have a natural curiosities and desire but don't know how to cope with it. The damage more than likely becomes permanent. Most boys would actually know better than to show their mother the stuff if the come across it. You are lucky your child could turn to you when he was confused. At 5 a boy does not have the coping mechanisms for it and given the any sort or encouragement by strangers with deviant intentions will react the way Alex did. The fact that this adult was showing children this shit is the damaging element. That this person is unable to distinguish between his on sexual pleasure and putting children at risk makes him a threat to all in his immediate community. Anyone who knowingly witnesses the evidence and then underestimates this threat is just as responsible as the pervert.

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    8. Good of you, Silvius, to engage in dialogue. More than can be said of Tom who will talk forever and then have one line for me in the comment box. But then, I suppose, women need to know their place. Ignore the last two sentences. I am through with bloggers and their comment boxes when you give a subject true thought.

      I hear your undercurrent, Silvius. Let's take this down from the top: Alex is not a victim. He stumbled upon something. He re-enacted a little of it. So far so nothing. That's what children do. They reenact. Remember playing father, mother, child age four?

      All I am trying to say, and please do reread my comments, that children do NOT interpret the world through the eyes of an adult. They interpret it through their own eyes. That's the one and only reason I keep repeating not to make too much of it. The one and only reason why I keep reiterating that it is paramount how the PARENT reacts. And Marcia's reaction was, well, let's not put too fine a point on it ....

      Anyway, in the words of the lengthy and rather tetchy touchy narrator Tom: Mustn't lecture. Not even comment. Let's keep it to sound bites.

      But yes, Silvius, I do appreciate what you are saying.

      U

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  13. Time to break out the ashtray again I think!
    As for the sheda. Every man needs somewhere like that to retreat to. At my last place I had a lovely man cave where id spend whole days just making things. When its my time, the workshop/shed wouldn't be a bad place to go. I just hope ots not for a long time yet!

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    1. I think sheds have saved many a marriage, or at least help avoid instances of domestic violence.

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  14. I'm with Helsie......how could Marcia not take your side in this? Claudio needs to be reported, not get away with it. Had to laugh about the shed.... Greg used to spend hours in our garage doing DIY, building bits of furniture. I guess it it's a man space for tranquillity and creativeness.

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    1. I don't know Addy. How could a wife choose an employee over her family? How could she even doubt her husband? This is all very disturbing.

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  15. Usually just read and don't comment but had to this time ...
    I can't believe Mrs H is taking the Perv's side. Children don't tend to make things like that up ... you have taken the perfect stance. Keep a very close eye on him and exact justice when the time is right, without getting yourself in trouble.
    I have my own shed and love it ... no Mr allowed.

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    1. Just because one is married does not mean private spaces are forbidden. Some people, however, seem to feel threatened by them. Like sitting next to your spouse at a dinner party, it is a sign of insecurity.

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  16. Like others have said, I am so glad you listened to the kids and believed them. I don't have children but I know if this had happened to my sister's kids, she would have ripped the guy's head off by now and then reported him to the police.

    I would never ridicule a man for having a shed. My husband would be lost without his shed and would probably get under my feet big time. I think the secret to a happy marriage is for the man to have a shed.

    Hope you work things out Hippo. Best wishes from Carol

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    1. I will 'work things out', don't worry!

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  17. I read your blog daily but have never been spurred to comment like I have been today. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse I can only say how my heart swelled to read about the way you listened to the children and really heard what they had to say; you honored them by doing so. I wish more children had fathers like you.

    I won't go on and on; I am sure you know you did the right thing. I commend you for it and I wish you and your family all the best.

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    1. It is easier to listen than to shout. Wish I could be so patient with adults!

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  18. Re Marcia's response, denial can be very soothing.

    Agree with getting Claudio off the premises, without a body bag being required - not so worried about the long term with the kids. They're pretty resilient.

    Normzone

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    1. I can't understand her attitude but I'm afraid that makes no difference to me, the man is on his way, one way or another.

      Kids are pretty resilient and another good reason for not making a fuss. Can you imagine how traumatised they would have been if I had gone to the police and they suffered interrogation? They would never, ever have confessed anything to me again.

      Doesn't bear thinking about. No, this problem has to be sorted out nice and quiet, like.

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  19. OMG Tom. That is awful. That is called grooming. Sick sick man.

    to catch him again, I say install cameras. one in any stock room and one behind the till.

    there is one way to maybe push Marcia, if he is doing such things (if they are all religious), you could either talk to the Priest (I realise the how stupid that sounds given priest in the news at the moment and abuse) or some how say that he is evil and corrupting the children. After reading the awful thing about that 13 year old boy who watched p@ rn with his friends and then all fired up attacked and raped his 7 year old sister. I do not believe that any forms of these films are good for the brain of someone young. yes it is natural. But they need to be mentally older and to have awareness that some of those films are quite violent and not real life. there is a huge thing in the UK where they are trying to educate teenagers about what is real life and what is violent and bordering on attacking.

    Teenagers are inundated with TV programmes of very low moral standards where the girls are frankly disgusting and give themselves away and have no self worth or value of themselves or their bodies. I have watched Geordie shores twice and could not believe what I was seeing. its disgusting.

    Sorry long comment, I feel quite shocked by it, that he was showing his bosses children. That shows daring and that he is disrespecting you and Marcia.

    Good for you letting the kids talk. if you had just freaked out they would not feel safe to confide in you. and this has shown how much they need to be protected and that this stuff happens right under your nose. How dare he do that. I completely feel for you.

    I don't know if they teach it at school over there, but I am sure you can find something on the net. I know that my friend had to talk to her kids about anything that your swimming suits cover are private and only for them.

    truly shocked. How awful.

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    1. There won't be any need to bother with cameras, or priests. No wait, maybe a priest will be needed shortly... Let's just let the dust settle.

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    2. I'd install the camera and let him know you are watching him... just for safety's sake till he's gone .

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  20. I don't quite get it. Did Claudio actually show the porn clips or did the kids grab his phone and check it out? This is the key question. The other day there was a criminal case in England involving a twelve year old boy who raped his seven year old sister after watching hard core porn on the internet. Anyone knowingly showing children such stuff is the worst kind of scumbag imaginable.

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    1. The kids said he showed them. He said the kids grabbed the phone,

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  21. Good on you all round Hippo.
    Goodness! Having a quiet fag in your shed is a small pleasure amidst such chaotic stuff going on.

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    1. A whisky would have been nicer but, if I have one I'll be right back where I started.

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Please feel free to comment, good or bad. I will allow anything that isn't truly offensive to any other commentator. Me? You can slag me without mercy but try and be witty while you are about it.