Getting your priorities right. Number one – a good garage cum workshop

| 30 Nov 2012

Not long ago, my wife and I sat down to come up with a list of things that we wanted from our next house. I'm slightly ashamed to admit that we wrote down such considerations as a nice garden and a good local pub before thinking about schools for the children.

A decent garage also came above educational concerns.

In the past, I have been spoilt in this respect by having access to a huge workshop with room for six or eight cars, two ramps, a mezzanine level for storage and everything from an air compressor to a shotblasting cabinet and a tyre-fitting machine.

Not so at home. Our previous abode had no garage; our current one has a single garage but with no power.

I'm happy to admit that I'm a fair-weather mechanic. I could, for example, quite happily spend all day tinkering in that workshop. The beauty of it was that, if you decided that enough was enough, you could down tools and go home.

With the single garage, the car obviously has to be dragged out for me to work on it. That's no problem, but when I've finished (or have simply reached a difficult job that requires a deep breath, an afternoon's thought and a cup of tea), everything has to be packed away and the car reversed into storage. Which means putting wheels back on and suchlike.

While the car is out, the driveway can tend to look a bit like a scrapyard. The neighbours must love it.

In this job, we quite often get to look longingly at other people's garages. There was the Lotus Elan owner who had a huge integral double-width affair, including converted roof space, full-length work bench, TV and fridge.

Then there was the XJ6 owner who had an extension to his house that was big enough for three other Jaguars, including one that was on a four-post ramp, plus a workspace at the front, storage on the first floor and even its own toilet.

I could quite happily have lived in it. The garage, that is, not the toilet.

One of the first jobs that Dad took on when he bought the family home in the mid-1970s was build a double garage at the end of the garden. And quite a thing it was, too – in its day. It had a pit underneath and room to work on two cars side-by-side. As a small boy, I used to sit in one while he fettled the other.

It's looking a little run-down now, but it's a vast improvement on what I've got. It has power, for a start – if not much in the way of warmth at this time of year.

No matter. I was looking at my humble garage recently and wondering whether or not –with a bit of reorganisation – the Morgan chassis could be arranged across the back so that I could work on it without having to move the MX-5.

All that would be needed would be to find another home for most of the gardening equipment, some camping bits and bobs, my golf clubs and what comedian Peter Kay refers to as 'emergency chairs'.

I'm sure that Mrs Page will see the obvious benefits and agree at once…