She's wild and outrageous, a rustic relic of the fields, she's perilously close to the edge ...meet Miss Bottifont!  (She's the one on the left).

Back in the mists of time, those Shepherds of Ye Olde and Ye Olde Sheep who passed through the portals of Miss Bottifont would never have imagined that in 2007 she would become the centre of a media circus - and now feted throughout the land thanks to the power of the internet and Anglia Television airing her resurrection in a Bygones series which was shown in October 2007.  She also came sailing in at First Place in the "Hut" Category at the prestigious Readers Sheds "Shed of the Year" Competition. 2007.  Back to the story!

For her own protection, Miss Bottifont currently languishes at a secret location in Suffield, Norfolk where I am lovingly restoring her to her former Shepherds Hut glory.

A Bit of a Backgrounder

Miss Bottifont is a Shepherds Hut from Beccles.  Shepherds used (no jokes about ewesed!) them in the Spring at lambing time to be with the flock as it moved from field to field.  This is why they have wheels!  In the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, etc. the sheep normally stayed in the same fields and had permanent buildings for the shepherds to use.

In areas such as Norfolk, the flocks would move all around the farm from one year to the next, so a shed on wheels was the requirement of the day.  Miss Bottifont has her Medicine Chest (wall cupboard) ...

... but the Lamb Rack (slatted cage/underbed pen) is missing.  The shepherd would sleep over this pen on a straw mattress with the lambs underneath him.  Sleep was the idea but he probably didn't get very much.  They also had a small stove for cooking and heat.  Normally a porridge breakfast was set up on the stove top, but a real live shepherd told me it was mostly cooked dry by the the time they got back from attending their flock and assorted sheep-type problems.  They were also fitted with a small non-opening window for light, plus a stable door for views of the ewes and ventilation as it could get a tad warm with the stove on the go.

Miss Bottifont, despite her wild and outrageous exterior, is a kindly soul.  Those not of a "Huttist" persuasion think that I am quite mad to save her from her slow disintegration.

She has sat in a field which has become a house and garden for at least 80 years.  The soil had almost come up to the floor and one wheel had a tree growing through the spokes.

When we went to collect her I had to make a steel skid trolley to slide under her as all the wheels had either rusted solid or fallen off.  It took two of us 12 hours to dig her out and load her up - all with a jack, timber and a large winch.

Miss Bottifont in transit c/o 1950's Land Rover Series 1 - "Mr. Toad"

In total it amounted to the best part of a weeks work to get her home and on site for her restoration at our Norfolk workshop.

Safe Home!

One day of this was spent rebuilding the house next to where Miss Bottifont had sat for 80 years.  She either did not want to leave or was hell bent on having the last revenge at this fiendish house that had invaded her field.  As we tried to squeeze past the house in the dark, Miss Bottifont took a fancy to a yard of tasty cast iron guttering as a Starter and a Bay Window (39"x17.25" approximately) as the Main Course!  Luckily for us she declined the Dessert.  So it was off back to Beccles with replacement glass and guttering and it took as long to repair the damage to the house as it did to dig out Miss Bottifont in the first place!

Anyway, she's on the mend.  I have all the materials in hand to restore her to her former glory; new tin roof, chassis and frame timber and feather edge board for the sides.  All the wheels are now free...

and I've burned out the rusted axles in a wood fire ...

Note spectre to right of shot ...the Ghost of Miss Bottifont?

The next job is to fit the roof tin to keep out the elements, although she does have a nice new cape as an interim measure:-

How fetching!  (I hope those wellies are clean)

Digger adopts his surly security scowl before rat inspection duties 



Local Huttists meet at Camp Bottifont for Afternoon Tea

A film crew have been following her progress from the digging-out on site to the restoration work I'm carrying out today on this wild and outrageous rustic relic of the fields, with a past history that deserves to continue long into the future - and not "a heap of firewood" as has been mentioned.  Heresy!


More coming soon as the restoration continues ....

 Acknowledgements, Accolades & All Round Appreciation

In this ongoing tale of Miss Bottifont (or Botty as she is now becoming known to her closest friends) I must say a big "thank you" to Ian McDonald.  Without Ian none of this could have happened and Miss Bottifont would still be decaying in her field.  Ian located Miss Bottifont and put us together - a real love "Hut Matching" service and never has a man or a Hut been more compatible!  He also helped me dig her out, load her up, unload her ceremoniously at our Norfolk workshop and assisted in the repair to the site and house after Miss Bottifonts dramatic revenge during her field exit.  As the focus of the Hutting Lobby in these parts I think I can say that the Huttist Movement are eternally grateful to him!

Please hop on over to The Mysterious Miss Kimberly page for another ongoing tale of Shepherds Hut restoration!

Online catering to the Huttist community ...

Please note that this is not Ian McDonald.