Ownership

marySandfordSome people say I’m slow to make decisions. Others that I’m cautious. I prefer to think of myself as careful. Considered. I don’t want to destroy something just because it is not a part of my own story. The story of any building does not belong to one person. It belongs to everyone who lives in, works in, has an interest in or shapes that building in some way.

The story of Beach Hut 123 may be small in the scale of human and architectural history yet, as its current custodian, it is one for which I care a great deal. It is a small story but as with all small stories, it is a cog in the story machine that links to a bigger picture of local history and people.

We all have a place in the world. A place where we retreat when the world seems too big, too overwhelming, too loud. I sometimes feel my sense of home is somewhat disjointed. I struggle to identify and claim “home”. I manage to fit into any most living situations. I adjust my expectations and adapt my behaviour to match those of whosoever already lives there or sets the rules. I was well trained to do so as a child. I was not well trained at claiming space or making demands of my own.

For me, that inability to claim space has not got easier with age.I fought a long and hard battle with myself to let go of a place I hoped for fourteen years would one day be my own home. But the expectations and strictures of another person consistently unsettled me at key moments when I might have settled into safety.

The beach hut was the realisation of a dream. A small dream by many standards, but also one that many who seem better practised at the more conventional route to making space for themselves – home owners and their like – have declared their open jealousy.

You own a three bedroom house with all the basics of modern living. I own a 16′ by 9′ shed without heating, light, insulation or any aspect of comfort. An oversized shed in which I cannot (officially) sleep overnight. And I am the object of your jealousy. Go figure.

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