Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    JarekSteliga is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    404
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default potting shed - what is it?

    I read this in Jeremy Clarkson's, "I know you got soul" in the chapter on Spitfire:

    "After a great deal of fettling and tweaking they got it up to 335 mph, but this was only 5 mph faster than Hawker's much simpler and cheaper Hurricane. So, being British, the engineers took their pipes to the potting shed and realised that the propeller's tips were encountering Mach problems."

    The only meaning of "potting shed" I was able to find is "gardener's shed where they keep young plants/seedlings in pots". I do not quite see (or rather I quite don't see ) why the engineers should take their pipes to any such place in order to overcome the Mach problems.

  2. #2
    Grumpy's Avatar
    Grumpy is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    704
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: potting shed - what is it?

    Jeremy Clarkson is not talking literally. All of the underlined passage is figurative, and is instantly recognisable and amusing to British men of a certain age....
    So, being British, the engineers took their pipes to the potting shed and realised that the propeller's tips were encountering Mach problems."


    British men are said to love our garden sheds [potting sheds] as somewhere to get away from our wives; either by ourselves, or with like-minded friends; somewhere to "potter about", doing things that we want to [as opposed to doing things that our wives tell us to]. Also, the great fictional detective Sherlock Holmes smoked his pipe whenever he wanted to think his way through a particularly difficult puzzle ["This is a two pipe problem, Watson", he said...]. So, Clarkson is being whimsical and amusing by playing on British stereotypes. He is not actually suggesting that the Mach problem was solved in a potting shed, as opposed to a wind tunnel or laboratory.
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

  3. #3
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    8,882
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: potting shed - what is it?

    And I thought you all had wind tunnels in your garden sheds!

  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,169
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: potting shed - what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    And I thought you all had wind tunnels in your garden sheds!
    I did live in a 10' by 8' shed once for a couple of years. It had electricity, heating, running water, and I was proud of its bedroom, study, toilet and washroom sections. I never did get round to the wind tunnel, though.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  5. #5
    JarekSteliga is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    404
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: potting shed - what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I did live in a 10' by 8' shed once for a couple of years.

    That confession sends a powerful message about the Mrs considering what Grumpy wrote in his post #2 about reasons for men to retire to their potting sheds.

  6. #6
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    21,648
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: potting shed - what is it?

    Gardeners do not keep their seedlings in the potting shed. They would die from lack of light (the seedlings, not the gardeners). The potting shed is used for "potting up" seedlings, that is to say, transplanting them from seed trays into individual pots.

  7. #7
    JarekSteliga is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    404
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: potting shed - what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Gardeners do not keep their seedlings in the potting shed. They would die from lack of light (the seedlings, not the gardeners). The potting shed is used for "potting up" seedlings, that is to say, transplanting them from seed trays into individual pots.
    Are potting sheds by definition windowless? My garden shed has two windows - so it is hardly a glass or greenhouse - and I always keep potted up tomato seedlings inside near those windows until it is safe for them outdoors (around 15th May where I live)

  8. #8
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,169
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: potting shed - what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by JarekSteliga View Post
    Are potting sheds by definition windowless?
    No
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  9. #9
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    21,312
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: potting shed - what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by JarekSteliga View Post
    I always keep potted up tomato seedlings inside near those windows until it is safe for them outdoors (around 15th May where I live)
    Wow - May 15th. That's very specific!
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  10. #10
    JarekSteliga is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    404
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: potting shed - what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Wow - May 15th. That's very specific!
    But is in fact less incredible/silly/incongruous/absurd/startling etc than your, "Wow" implies . Nearly a hundred years worth of statistical analysis points out to 15th May as the last day in a year when outdoor plant life threatening frosts are likely to occur. This rule holds true for Poland, Holland, Slovenia and Germany and is well embeded in both religious and folk tradition. May 15th enjoys its own very special names in the context of gardening, "Zimna Zośka" in Poland, "Ijsheiligen" in Holland and "Eisheiligen" in Germany.

    And yes, statistics can be eerily precise. I once conducted an experiment (prompted by my statistics teacher) tossing a coin a hundred times. I counted 50 heads and an equal number of tails, which freaked me out.

Similar Threads

  1. Throw or shed?
    By RoseSpring in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-Apr-2010, 19:20
  2. [Grammar] shed the light first, please.
    By tareq10 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 15-Mar-2009, 20:25
  3. shed
    By peter123 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 11-Mar-2008, 06:50
  4. shed light
    By yellowribbon in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 12-Nov-2005, 22:52
  5. touch in base? shed some light? play by ear?
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 28-Feb-2003, 20:16

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Hotchalk