Sunday, September 22, 2019

Scottish Men’s Shed of the Year announced

There are shed of the year winners wherever you look at the moment. As well as the Shed of the Year announced last week, Aberchirder & District Men’s Shed has won the inaugural Scottish Men's Shed of the Year award (pictured left to right are James Paterson, secretary of Aberchirder & District Men’s Shed; Derek Keiller, SMSA chairman; and Mike O’Brien, chairman of Aberchirder & District Men’s Shed).

The Aberchirder branch was set up in 2016 by a group of seven friends and the shed was built the following year thanks to a land grant by Aberdeenshire Council - it features five cabins with toilets, kitchen, computer and social areas and was officially opened earlier this spring by the Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire Clare Russell.

A spokesman for the shed said: "The Shedders have worked with local schools, charities, businesses and residents to provide planters, fencing, garden seats, hanging baskets, firewood and chicken coups in addition to being the envy of the community with its homegrown fruit and veg." Aultbea Men’s Shed and Cromarty Firth Men’s Shed tied for the runner-up places and each receive a £250 cash prize and gift vouchers from Axminster Tools.

The event was held at the Carse of Gowrie Men’s Shed in Dundee and the trophy was designed by Derek Keiller, made using mahogany from a 100-year-old billiards table.

Jason Schroeder, executive officer at the SMSA and co-founder of the first Men’s Shed in Scotland in Aberdeenshire  in 2013, said: “Today’s event celebrates the success and growth of the Men’s Sheds Movement in Scotland.  By showcasing the award nominees and their life-changing impact it is hoped that more men will access Men’s Sheds to connect with their communities, to improve their health and wellbeing, and that new Men’s Sheds will continue to be developed across Scotland.” ---------------------------------------

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Free entry to Dylan Thomas's writing shed this weekend

The Cadw Open Doors programme is up and running this year and one of the most iconic garden offices in the world is available to view for free. The Dylan Thomas Boathouse and Writing Shed, the poet's last home and shedworking atmosphere, is throwing open its doors and throwing in an interactive sound sculpture installation by artist in residence, Laura Garrett for good measure. Doors are open 10am to 5pm today and tomorrow at the location in Laugharne Carmarthenshire SA33 4SD. -----------------------------------
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Friday, September 20, 2019

Shed of the Year 2019: Bux End

Congratulations to Chris Hield from Buxton who has won this year's Shed of the Year competition sponsored by Cuprinol with Bux End, a shed inspired by The Hobbit. More than 16,000 votes for 3,000 entrants in seven categories were cast this year, the 13th time it has run.

“I’m delighted – and in shock!" he told competition organiser Uncle Wilco. "We are massive Lord of the Rings fans so when we decided to build our own shed we knew it had to be a hobbit hole. It had to fit in with the wildlife and nature that we have cultivated in the rest of our garden so the grass roof was a big feature. Whenever we got any seeds for wild flowers we have just thrown them over the top of the shed and they have thrived."

In addition to the prestigious title, Chris wins £1,000, a wooden plaque, £100 worth of Cuprinol products and a massive crown for his shed. For more details see Uncle Wilco's Shed Blog and for more images of Bux End, go to its section on

And we were delighted that Mary Price's Artistintheshed won the workshop/studio category, the closest to a garden office section since that was discontinued some years ago. We've profiled Mary before on Shedworking and suggested it was a strong contender.

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Goodbye to the Shed Manual shed

As part of producing the Shed Manual for Haynes earlier this year, we naturally had to produce several sheds. The one that was closest to my heart was the garden office and it has now finally gone to a good home where it is currently waiting for a new deck to be built for it overlooking its new owner's garden pond in an apple orchard.

If you'd like more information about how it was moved and transported (by road at 20-30mph), read John's account of it here - it's an excellent detailed post with plenty of images showing each step of the way. I rather like this one which makes it look like it is magically floating...

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Writer's Block garden office

Writer’s Block is a spectacular garden office design by London-based Zac Monro Architects for a screenwriter which also features a large screen for watching films. "He wanted it in the quiet part of the garden," say the architects, "specifically where the compost heap stood steaming in the autumn light." It is made from locally-sourced timber with a hardwood-slatted exterior to blend in nicely with the garden (and as you can see from the image above also provides intriguing shadows) and a polished concrete base.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

One in seven UK workers is based at home

More than four million UK shedworkers and other homeworkers have ended the daily commute in favour of working from home, around one in seven UK workers. Analysis of ONS data carried out by Aviva Insurance indicates that Powys in Wales tops the homeworking table, closely followed by Kensington and Chelsea, and Brighton and Hove.

Workers in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland are least likely to be home-based according to the study. Scottish regions appear throughout the top 10 least common areas for home workers, with Aberdeen City and Inverclyde coming second and third on this list.

According to Aviva’s analysis, 14% of UK workers are home-based for their main job. This includes people who work in their home (5%), in the same grounds or building as their home (1%), or in different places, using their home as a base (8%). The ONS data shows the majority of people who work from home are self-employed, accounting for 60% of this group. Employed individuals make up 39% of home-workers, while the remaining small number are unpaid workers at the family home.

10 UK regions with highest proportion of home workers
UK Region
Percentage of workers who are primarily home-based
  1. Powys
  1. Kensington and Chelsea
  1. Brighton and Hove
  1. Ceredigion
  1. Devon
  1. County of Herefordshire
  1. Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
  1. Camden
  1. Richmond upon Thames
  1. Pembrokeshire

10 UK regions with lowest proportion of home workers
UK Region
Percentage of workers who are primarily home-based
  1. West Dunbartonshire
  1. Aberdeen City
  1. Inverclyde
  1. Clackmannanshire
  1. Hartlepool
  1. Sandwell
  1. Leicester
  1. Dundee City
  1. North Lanarkshire
  1. Salford

Adam Beckett, Product Director for Aviva UK General Insurance said: “Flexible working and home-working options are now part and parcel of many people’s lives. Advances in technology mean many individuals can work remotely in a whole host of careers, from web design to tutoring. And indeed, at Aviva we offer home-working options to many of our employees!

“If people are home-based, it’s important that they have the appropriate insurance for their business needs as well as their personal lives. Aviva covers home office equipment as part of our home insurance products, but people should inform their insurer if they plan to use their home for any business purpose other than office work. For example, people will usually require additional insurance if they store large amounts of stock or cash in their homes; and if customers visit their homes, the host will usually require public liability insurance. Similarly, if people use a vehicle for their work, they should make sure it’s insured for business use.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Monday, September 16, 2019

Studio Shed offier

One of the biggest names in the garden offices in the USA, Colorado-based Studio Shed is offering 15% off all its products starting September 20 (slightly earlier if you subscribe to its newsletter). Click the link above for more details.

About Studio Shed | Customizable Prefab Backyard Sheds and Accessory Dwelling Units from Studio Shed on Vimeo.  -------------------------------------------------
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Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Harry Pierce Micro-Museum opens today

We've talked about Kurt Schwitters' Merz Barn on the Cylinders estate at Langdale in the Lake District before on Shedworking (and you can find lots more about it on their site here) so it's great news to hear that work on the site near Ambleside continues apace. This time the focus is on the landscape gardens there created by Harry Pierce in the 1940s and 1950s which are in the process of being restored.

The Harry Pierce Micro-Museum and Reading Room will be officially opened by the garden designer's grandson William at 2pm today. The reconstruction of Pierce's original drawing office on the site of the derelict original measures 4.3m by 3.2m so is among the smallest museums in the country containing a desk, drawings, books and plans he made to convert the former gunpowder works estate into experimental gardens, as well as writings about his experiences and contemporary photos.

The work has been made possible thanks to a grant from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, supported by the Cumbria Fells & Dales Local Action Group.
The original office was built by Pierce (who owned Cylinders in the early 1940s) as a garden office in which to create his plans for Mawson’s of Windermere where he was the chief designer. It was here where he met the German-born artist Schwitters and they began a lifelong friendship. It will be open daily from 10am to 5pm with no admission free. The painting below is a portrait of Harry by Schwitters.

There's an excellent article about the work by Mike Glover in Lancashire Life here. ---------------------------------------

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Cabin Porn: Inside

The original Cabin Porn book has been a great success (though we wish they'd called it something else - even the publishers seem a bit uncomfortable as they refer to it as Cabin P*rn throughout their publicity bumph). Out on October 3 from Particular Books is the follow-up, Cabin Porn: Inside, again by Zack Klein, the co-founder of Vimeo.

So the focus this time round is more on the interiors of shedlike atmospheres around the world, as the publishers put it "offering close-ups of the stunning architecture and interior design that make them truly remarkable. With more timeless photography and new design stories, Cabin P*rn: Inside brings fresh inspiration for your quiet place somewhere".

You can enjoy a sample of the book here.

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