Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Shed envy and dogs on chairs


Today, I bring you some photos of Manjit Sidhu's glorious sewing shed, which I've kindly been given permission to share with you. I first saw this shed on Twitter when Manjit's friend, Catherine, asked me if I'd vote for it as it has been entered into a shed competition (you can vote too if you'd like to - it only takes a second).


I have totally fallen for its gothic windows and lovely green and pink colour scheme.


The shed comes from The Posh Shed Company and is quite possibly one of the loveliest sheds I've ever seen, although I feel chilly just imagining what sewing through the winter in it might be like (particularly as it's May and I currently have the heating pushed up to 24 because it feels like it might never be warm in England again. Having my heating use dictated by what month it is no longer seems a logical ground for deciding such a thing. And for ardent environmentalists who may disapprove of that statement, in my defence, I've made only three short-haul plane journeys in the last eleven years and I've been a vegetarian since I was four years old, which is apparently the single most effective change you can make for having a positive impact on the environment, so I indulge my love of a warm house without guilt).


I love that a shed is so detached from a house that you could go completely wild decorating it. I think my husband and Nell might like to be in one of these during the summer months...or maybe I'd just like them to be in one as Nell is now in the frustrating stage of puppyhood where she moves from one piece of badness to another and has been making her way through computer cables, skirting boards and parts of my kitchen. She is rarely let out of our sight for longer than thirty seconds, but it's amazing how much damage she can do in that short time and also how cleverly she places a toy as a decoy next to the illegal item she's chewing to lull us into believing that she's just innocently chomping away on a stuffed rhino.


When it comes to golden retrievers they grow so quickly that she no longer looks like the puppy in the photo above, but rather like a small, but very proper adult dog. 


Which brings me on to dogs on furniture. I am uncompromising about not wanting her on sofas or upholstered chairs, especially as in six months time she'll be a malting, long-haired mass of gold, but does giving a dog a chair of their own stop them from being quite so persistent in their attempts to share human chairs? I found her on this old wicker chair this morning and thought that I'd actually be quite happy for this to be Nell's chair (will an adult golden retriever curl up to fit on such a chair though?) if it would mean she felt she had a place of her own that's higher than her bed, which seems to be what she covets. 


These photos make her look really quite small still, but it's quite amazing how strong she is. The weekly photos my husband has been taking of her on the Florence height-chart (that's her size relative to a human Florence. Do you see how he tries to draw me in to be a part of his dog's life?) are soon to come to an end as I can barely lift her. Dogs are so very different from cats: she is a solid mass...a bit like a house brick...or a large boulder.

Florence x

38 comments:

  1. Wee puppies can be frustrating, no? But look at that face, she's beautiful! I have done the pet thing the other way round - we had dogs as a child and now (at my daughter's wheedling) have 2 kitten/cats. To be exact, almost-a-year-old Bengals. They get EVERYWHERE!! At least a dog doesn't sit on a high shelf and push precious ornaments off or scratch tables leaping off them. Cats are so different from dogs.

    P.S. Dogs can happily have "their" chair to sit on but, yes, that particular chair might be a bit small once she's reached her full potential!

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    1. That's really funny to read that - I wonder whether that's the breed you have, as I have heard that Bengals can be very characterful. My experience of them is the exact opposite but perhaps that's because ours are rescue cats and so quite timid and, apart from plucking at furniture, they tend to wander around the house attempting to be as well behaved and careful as they possibly can. I think their kittenish spirit was depleted by the time we got them. I'm sorry yours are so destructive though - it sounds like you don't enjoy them as much as your daughter does.

      Thank you for your opinion on the size of the chair - I'll be on the look out for a bigger one when I'm trawling my favourite junk shops. x

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    2. I realised once I'd hit reply that I sounded like a great big grouch! They are slightly hooligan-y cats but I am very attached to them. One in particular is MY cat (or rather, I am his) but they are just so different from dogs! They have only 2 speeds, too. Asleep and warp 9! And they're not really deliberately destructive, just full of kitten vigour. I wouldn't let anything happen to them, that's for sure!

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  2. Awww how cute is she!! We currently have 4 dogs in our house of which one is a Golden Retriever, the other ones are a Springer Spaniel and a Cocker Spaniel.

    We seem to be in the minority (though everyone we talk to do the same as us) and we allow the dogs anywhere, even on the bed at night. The Retriever is given the same "treatment" as the spaniels which is a hair cut every 4 weeks in summer and every 8 in Winter to keep the coat short and is given regular brushes at least a few times a week.

    We have always been under the impression that when we have pets they should be part of the family and included in everything that they can be.

    P.s we also own 2 cats, who get the same treatment as the dogs, well apart from the hair cut lol!

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    1. I think I'm slightly against hair on furniture partly because I wear a lot of black and navy, but more so because I'm allergic to a lot of things and I don't want to become allergic to Nell so I'm quite careful about not letting her go on places where masses of hair can accumulate (our cats only go on our children's beds, never mine), but I do see your point about wanting them to be a part of the family and it is frustrating that to sit and cuddle her we have to sit on the floor with her.

      It hadn't even occurred to me that you could cut a golden retrievers hair short - if you ever have any photos that you'd be willing to share of what that looks like then I'd love to see - is their coat still just as waterproof for them once you've done that? I seem to remember reading something about the coarser hair on their back being like that by design as it keeps them warm in a downpour?

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    2. I do agree with you, you seem nice loving pet owners. If their fur moulting is more of an issue then I wonder if it is appropriate to have pets. They are messy but that is what they are, endorse and accept or move on and don't expect animals to be compromised by forbidding natural behaviour. It's so unfair.

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    3. I'm actually mainly allergic to house dust and we've had our cats for nearly five years without my becoming allergic to them, but I don't want to do anything that could trigger a reaction. I think as long as I'm careful then it would be a shame to stop myself and the rest of my family from experiencing all the lovely things about living with cats and dogs. So I am accepting and endorsing, as you put it, but taking precautions so that we never have to be in the position of having to rehome them.

      This seems to be your second anonymous comment on this post and I can see that you feel strongly about animals - I do too, which is why I choose to be vegetarian and bring my children up as that too. I believe in animals having the right to a caring, loving home and to be treated as creatures with the same rights as humans, which is why I've chosen to respond to each of your comments, as it upsets me to be perceived as someone who compromises an animal's welfare simply because I don't let our dog on the sofa.

      I should say, just in case there are others reading this thinking that I am making a judgement about people who aren't vegetarian - I'm not. I know many people who care about animals but aren't vegetarian. I believe everyone draws lines as to what feels right to them in different places: some may choose to let their dogs on sofas, but happily eat meat, while others (like me) may choose not to eat meat, but don't allow their dog on the sofa. I think both are fine and up to the individual. Although before today I'd never considered not allowing a dog on a sofa as a moral dilemma...but I will from now on.

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  3. Wow, what an amazing shed. It certainly beats having to take over the dining table every time I want to get the sewing machine out - I'm quite jealous!

    the-urban-cottage.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. I know, I am incredibly jealous - it's totally dreamy.

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  4. I've spent the last two months training my dog to not sit on furniture, after foolishly allowing it when she was a puppy. We ended up in a bizarre situation where she was getting huffy with other people using the couches, which had to stop. Now i have been very strict and she must use her basket and is not allowed on the furniture. Funnily enough i feel that she is happier now that there are clear boundaries - she certainly is calmer.

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    1. That's good to hear she's calmer and that makes sense about having firm boundaries.

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  5. I think I might be a meanie when it comes to dogs (and a softy when it comes to cats as they are positively encouraged onto beds and chairs) - having grown up with dogs not being allowed upstairs or on chairs and definitely not on beds I have always applied the same rules to ours.
    We have been dog-less for around a year and, although I have been rejoicing in the relative lack of hair around the house, I have missed the relentless enthusiasm that comes with a dog........we should be picking up our new pup around mid June. I'm rather nervous about tackling the house training, chewing, climbing-on-furniture stage but looking forward to having a happy creature to take for walks.
    So, I'd keep her on the floor....but I'm just a meanie! Juliex

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    1. I agree - I think because my first love is cats I do have a totally different set of rules for them, that's slightly inexplicable but just feels right (for example, I wouldn't want Nell upstairs, but I'm quite happy for the cats to be up there).

      Good luck with your new puppy in June - you must be very excited. Did you have try deer antler with your previous dogs? Nell loves chewing on those.

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    2. I think you are a meanie too. Animals should be part of the family and not forced into living half lives because they are not welcomed. Unwanted animals are sad and unhappy and deserve better homes where they are properly accepted and loved. It's like if we were condemned to living in one room. People who have dogs tend to be bossy in control people who like the sound of their own voices giving out commands. People usually tell them where to go but dogs sadly often have loyalty where none is deserved.

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    3. Anonymous, thanks so much for your comment, but I'm really surprised you'd draw that from what I said - Nell is treated with complete kindness, is very much a part of the family and I don't think she lives a half-life by having access to four rooms in our house downstairs. The comments I made about her and my husband temporarily moving out to a shed were made in jest - I'm sorry if you didn't read it that way.

      I said in reply to someone else that part of the reason that I don't let her on the sofas is because I don't want her hair to accumulate in places where I could then become allergic to it (and also because, yes, I'm admittedly a little shallow in liking my clothes to be free of hairs). I don't think not being allowed on a sofa is something that could be perceived as cruelty to animals or as an animal to be unwanted.

      I think your generalisation about people who have dogs being bossy is a slightly curious one - I don't think my husband is that at all (Nell is primarily his dog) and before having Nell I didn't especially strike up conversations with dog owners, but since being out and about with her on walks I've spoken to literally hundreds of people and found dog owners generally to be incredibly sociable, warm and kind-hearted people who love their animals.

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  6. LOL, I've never heard of a dog described as a house brick before, but it kinda fits!

    That shed, oh that shed! I'm like you though, I'd be too cold there. I've felt terribly guilty putting the heating on so late in the year, but when it's cold and I'm wearing two jumpers already, needs must!

    I'm also a vegetarian though so I read your environmental impact thoughts with relief. Thank goodness I'm not so much to blame as my naughty meat eating husband who flips the heating off as soon as I put it on!

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    1. I'm so pleased I've given you a defence for warmth. My own husband doesn't do any naughty meat eating (he's been a vegetarian since he was 19), so I have a harder time using these arguments with him, although as I'm writing this I've suddenly realised that he's offset much of his own goodness by owning a meat-eating dog, so perhaps I do have some justification after all!

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  7. My mother in law breeds golden retrievers and I've never heard of them having their hair cut. Although I agree, they are terrible moulters.
    We are very soft and let our dog onto the furniture (she is banned from beds, although she sneaks on them behind my back), but she is a whippet, so is very small and barely sheds. When the goldens come to visit, it seems as if there is hair everywhere, so I think it is probably best to start as you mean to go on and not let Nell on the furniture.
    Giving her a chair of her own could be a good compromise, but it will need to be fairly sturdy to accommodate her as an adult!

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  8. It always makes me sad when animals are banned from the furniture as they do like to be raised up as you have noticed. They also like to be near their humans. Animals like to climb, cats especially but dogs like to be high up too at times. A friend of mine's dog used to sneak up onto a chair when he thought no one could see and I never gave him away. He was very good though and always did as he was told. I think a chair of ones own for a dog is as important as a room (or shed).

    Which brings me to the shed. It's lovely isn't it? but I also shivered. I feel the cold too and like a warm house and it is so cold today. I also never travel and am vegetarian. So that's alright then!

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  9. OMG. I want that shed!!! Not that I have a yard to put it in, but still, wow, who doesn't want their own sewing shed?! Adorable! As for the puppy, I have zero advice as a life-long cat person :)

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  10. I saw that shed too, haven't got a garden big enough for it but so pretty! And that old wicker chair is a Lloyd loom- I have the same one, used to be my grandmas and used by me and all our cats past and present . Pets on chairs? Up to the owner I guess! Ha ha- that's a debate I don't want to be part of!

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  11. Our previous, dog a 'heinz 57' used to sleep on our bed as well as the chairs. Our Labrador, however, is twice the size and would need a whole double bed to herself! She doesn't have her own chair but favourites the one by the window. This way she can keep watch on the neighbourhood cats and alert us to visitors! We do have one chair that she is never allowed on, so that my mum and other dog-hair avoiders have somewhere to sit!!
    This said, it is entirely up to each owner as to where they let their pets sleep/sit, as long as they are loved there are no set rules (although that chair will deffo be too small soon!!)

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  12. P.S. Nell is beautiful - and so is that shed!!

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  13. How can you not vote for a shed like that? it is fantastic thanks for showing us, Jo x

    http://joeveryday19.blogspot.co.uk/

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  14. I've heard that you're not supposed to shave Goldens - just brushing (and their hair can grow back funky if you do shave them).

    Ours would be unlikely to fit on that chair, by the way, but they have been trained that they're not allowed on the furniture and they do stay off - I'm not sure how that would be cruel to them, as we often sit on the floor with them...

    They haven't chewed anything since they were puppies, either, so that phase should pass. :-)

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  15. With such a cute face you can forgive all the moulting x

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  16. Your troll is making some odd arguments. Is nothing off-limits in his/her home? What about children -- can they do whatever they like? What about writing on walls? Oh my, but they really like it! Playing ball in the dining room? Also fun. Surely children must be allowed these activities; otherwise they aren't really members of the family, don't you agree?

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  17. i love the shed! so nicely done. Nell is looking great too. fingers crossed on your allergies!

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  18. Well said Jenny. As with children, dogs benefit from consisent boundaries. It doesn't matter where you draw them as long as hey are consistent. I'm sure Nell will be very happy living in your lovely family, and bear with it, she will grow out of the naughty phase and calm down. (All the faster for living with boundaries and a loving but hierarchical pack)

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  19. Wonderful shed, love it but it would too cold for me.... Will be voting for it though. Nell looks beautiful & loved by all of you that's obvious & all that really matters.

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  20. Yeah, there's some funny stuff coming from Anonymous here. I think you're absolutely right to set your boundaries now, because that'll be much easier for everyone than waiting until Nell's bigger and hairier and then changing the rules - that would be confusing for her. My grandparents had two lovely (happy!) Labrador-ish dogs when I was little and they never climbed on the furniture, I guess because they'd been taught not to. When we had a cat she wasn't allowed on kitchen worktops or the dining table, and she pretty much never tried to go there. None of those rules were cruel! Actually the kind of boundaries you're talking about are all the sort that will enable Nell to be a happy and much-loved member of the family for many years to come. x

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  21. That shed is just too wonderful ...love the windows and the chandelier. Maybe Nell is just needing more cuddles?

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  22. Shed envy over here as well! x

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  23. Wow! What an amazing shed. Would love a craft space like that!

    Sarah x

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  24. Fantastic shed, and as for the animal loving troll...to be honest it is "horses for courses". Our dog is allowed on our sofa when invited and when he is with us.

    He is very loved, as is Nell, but he is a dog.

    Oh and the naughty puppy destruction does end provided you are consistetn

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  25. What a beautiful dog. I love them at the half grown, naughty stage, and she'll soon settle down. Ours can't get up on the sofa as she has hip dysplasia (operated on, but still troubling)but I sort of wish she could. The only thing I would say about dogs on sofas is that they can get a bit domineering about where they and you sit, but as long as yours will budge over if asked you'll be fine.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x