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Men and their Sheds

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Men and their Sheds

A short story by a man who loves his shed

It's Saturday afternoon and it is raining. I trudge into the house. My wife Vanessa and her sister are in the kitchen, analysing our daughter's degenerating behaviour as they cut out a pattern for another frilly dress for their already frilly mother. I wonder at the intensity, speed and dexterity of their sisterly conversation.

Polite greeting from me: "Hello girls, you having a good time?"

Answer from my loving wife: "Yes. The tap's leaking".

The best I can manage is: "Uh huh!"

There is a sound of an explosion in the living room.

Young Aden and hisfriend are on the floor, playing some obnoxious computer game that disgorges a barrage of shooting, dying, and screaming. Despite being cemented to their game controllers, they are also watching a DVD which has an equal amount of shooting, dying, and screaming. It amazes me how kids can now watch TV without looking at it.

Vanessa yells from the kitchen. "Honey, can you fix the tap?"

Where can I hide? I quietly slip out the door. Lucky for me I have ... SHED.

Robbie's electrical workshop shed1

According to a recent survey in the UK, the average man will be "busy" in his shed for more than 12 hours a week.

That's more than 27 days a year, or 3 years of his married life. What do blokes do with their time there? Well here are the top 10 activities:

  • Tinker with tools (41%)
  • Gather junk (37%)
  • Pot up plants for the garden (30%)
  • Mend/make furniture (23%)
  • Work (18%)
  • Maintain or revamp cars, bikes etc (17%)
  • lay music (17%)
  • Drink beer (16%)
  • Read the paper (13%)
  • Have a sneaky cigarette (10%)

There are lots of types of sheds: Garden/ Office Sheds, Workshop Sheds, Studio Sheds, Drinking Sheds, Fantasy Sheds, Summer House sheds, Rumpus Rooms, Farmhouse Sheds, Garage Band Sheds, and Illicit Sheds.

a-prize-winning-pub-shed         A tidy shed

Whatever the shed, it's a place for blokes to escape; where they can be master of their own time and bestill with their own STUFF.

For the DIY Man, STUFF is important. You never throw it away, because if you do, you will need it the next day. You store it, either chaotically, or chaotically systematically. But it's no use being too systematic because someday everything is eventually going to get pulled out and shoved back in a completely new spot. Brian from next door reckons a tidy shed is the sign of an inactive mind.

Dust, rust, spiders, smells; they're all part of it, part of the shed'scoming of age; it's maturation. Shed stuff is like a compost heap. It'sever-developing matter that just gets bigger and better.

Brian's systematically chaotic shed

I plonk down on my old stool in the corner, and relax with a beer. Vanessa might come to the door but if it's shut, she will never venture in. She knows this is my domain.Sheds are just private places for blokes, where they can be alone, tinker with tools, listen to the footy. Shed's are also where boys learn stuff from their Dad. Stuff that they can't learn at school, or from a computer game.Like how to change a tap washer, how to clean a carburettor, how to get rid of the fuzz that's appeared on your face when you turn sixteen.

There is, in fact, a whole culture of sheds. There are books, websites, and films, all devoted to shed culture. There is even a rock group MEN AND THEIR SHEDS.

Members of the Kincumber community shed

Community men's sheds are wonderful meetings places, especially for older men. Theygather, drink coffee, and make even more STUFF. Some community shed's even have skills and tradeprograms where older men mentor younger men.

Still on my stool, I wonder if I should have another beer, or should I fix that old toaster?BANG! A rock hits the roof. It's Brian from nextdoor. That's his secret signal that he needs to ESCAPE. I get up and peer out the window and sure enough, he's at the fence, flashing a tinnie at me. His wife's probably got her Saturday arvo book club meeting.

Brian and I drink our beers. We don't say much, we never do. We just watch the STUFF in the shed mature, like watching a silent movie.

Brian scrutinizes one corner, a memorial to old tools.

"You've moved that monkey wrench."


He stares at it and nods. "Good spot."

There is a muffled voice behind the closed door. It's Vanessa. "Can you fix the tap now?" "Can't, I'm busy, with Brian. We're in the middle of something."

I stare at the closed door and hear Vanessa disappear back into the house.

Ah, where would we be without a SHED. Us blokes have got to stick together. Like they do here!

If you're spending time in your shed planning a DIY project, here are some other articles that you may find useful:

Bathroom Cost Calculator

Kitchen Cost Calculator

Construction Cost Calculator