The garage at Hextol Towers has a new rival in the quest for the title of most untidy storage unit west of the Pecos.

Step forward the little shed in the garden which we inherited from the aged father in law on his sad demise six years ago.

It’s a plastic structure about four feet high, five long and three wide and it’s stuffed to the gunwales with all manner of stuff which we cannot fit into the already bulging garage.

Some of it is essential for the maintenance of the garden, including the electric lawn mower, which I hope I can coax another season out of. It is fairly elderly as my lawnmowers go, with the flex festooned with yards of insulating tape to repair the places where I have run over it, and occasionally severed it altogether.

It whines wheezily now rather than roaring with rude health, and the cut is somewhat uneven, possibly due to the fact that all four wheels are somehow set at different heights, even though they were all perfectly level when it was last used.

Also in there is the electric hedge trimmer, wrapped in even more insulating tape than the lawn mower, and with a lead several feet shorter than it was when new, along with the battery powered hedge trimmer with the extra long and flexible blade for reaching the very top of the hedge.

The trouble is, no matter how long I charge it for, the battery is only good for about 10 minutes of very light trimming. I have to carry the battery in a little satchel round my neck, and it weighs a ton, so sessions with the long blade tend to be mercifully brief.

Also squeezed in the shed are the sun loungers ready for instant deployment should the occasion ever arise. They are complex affairs with multiple different settings, any one of which they could adopt without warning leading to spilling of drinks as my portly personage is catapulted into repose unexpectedly.

The shed is also where we keep spare jumbo cartons of washing powder and fabric conditioner of which Mrs Hextol uses inordinate amounts. It is some years now since the family left home, but the washing machine is busier than ever, as whenever we go visiting, we invariably come back with cuddy loads of other people’s washing, which she scoops up by the armful.

The washing line is always a flutter with baby clothes and sheets from various sources, the owners of which are always grateful for Mrs Hextol’s distinctive dobying – “because it always comes back so lovely and clean and smelling so fresh.”

Also clinking away in the shed are innumerable cans and bottles of beer, got in for Christmas, but as yet unconsumed, as I have never been one for solo drinking in the house, and visitors always tend to be driving. There is no room in the fridge for this cornucopia of frothy delights, as Mrs Hextol for some reason contends that food is more important than beer.

Taking up more than its fair share of shed capacity is the mini dustbin in which we keep our supply of bird seed, fat balls, peanuts and mealworms for the multifarious avian visitors to the garden of Hextol Towers.

Watching the birds in action is most entertaining, as they try to outdo each other for thuggery, with the starlings usually strutting their way to the top of the pile – until the sparrowhawks swoop to turn the feeders into food.

There are drawbacks to having this food supply for the birds close to hand, because it’s not only the birds which like the menu on offer.

I noticed the levels in the bin was going down at a suspiciously rapid rate, and then discovered a little nest of paper, straw and feathers on top of the seed.

I mentioned before that we had found a dead mouse at the entrance to the shed, so now concluded it had probably eaten itself to death on my bird seed.

It also explained why Mrs Hextol’s monster packet of Daz had sprung a leak as the emboldened creatures started chewing everything they could get their teeth into.

Mrs Hextol refused to go anywhere near the shed, even for her beloved mop bucket until I dealt with the problem so two Little Nipper traps were deployed, each producing two pop-eyed corpses over the next few days.

Since then there has been nothing – and bird seed levels have remained constant!