Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Coronavirus update: Smart's new e-catalogue


As we go into the second week of lockdown in the UK, garden office suppliers continue to come up with new solutions for people interested in finding out more about shedworking. Smart has closed its physical premises and showroom, stopped on-site consultations, and adjusted its installment dates.

"We're still keen to help potential customers plan their dream garden room, office or studio," says Sue Phillips, Smart's Sales and Marketing Director. "So instead of asking for a hard copy of our catalogue, anybody can now take a look at it as an e-catalogue. It has plenty of inspireing ideas and case studies plus information on all our ranges and optional extras."

Smart has also provided a new ‘Self Consultation’ form to get things underway for the time when things are back to normal, and have also introduced a new ‘peace of mind deposit’ - £250 secures an order at the prices quoted and the company's earliest installation slot. For more details, click the link above to take you through to their site.
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Tuesday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

Monday, March 30, 2020

Arctic Cabins livestreaming chat and viewing session


Among the companies finding ways to help new customers despite the lockdown is Arctic Cabins. Tomorrow (Tuesday) at noon on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/arcticcabins they will be running a live streaming session where you can: " Chat to our team online while we show you around our wide selection of different sized BBQ Cabins, including our extremely popular Arctic Bar." Well worth dipping into.  -------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Dylan Thomas Writing Shed aerial view video


A lovely short video of one of the most famous writing sheds in history (and with lovely music to accompany it). ---------------------------------------

Sunday posts are sponsored by eDEN Garden Rooms. Stunning, bespoke high quality garden rooms, to suit your unique space and style

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Thomas Hardy's summerhouse for sale


Though he didn't actually live here, it appears that Thomas Hardy - who lived locally-ish - wrote poems in the thatched summer house at the back of a five-bedroom Grade II listed home - called East House - in Sydling St Nicholas, Dorset - and recited them to local school children. It was also used as a location in the 1967 film of his novel Far from the Madding Crowd. On with Jackson Stops for £1.5 million. ------------------------------------------------------
Saturday posts are sponsored by woowoo waterless toilets, the best toilet for your garden office

Friday, March 27, 2020

Chuck Wendig's new writing shed


We've been following writer Chuck Wendig's shedworking journey on this site for a while and were delighted to see that his new garden office is now up and running. Or as he put it: Construction of the second Death Star has been completed." Describing the current setup he writes: "It’s spare right now, very echo-ey. Just a desk, a computer, chair. I’ll get couch, bookshelf, St. Andrew’s cross, aviary, occult reagents all set up." Catch up with Chuck at his website here. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Friday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Garden office as pub during lockdown


A lovely piece in the FT by writer Andrew Martin about turning his shed into a pub during the coronavirus lockdown. Here's a snippet:
In my garden shed, I have attempted to create the simulacrum of a pub. It’s called, I suppose, The Shed Inn or better still The Lockdown Arms, in acknowledgment of the disaster that has prompted its founding. Let me give a rough, preliminary idea of the place by sketching in a chair (just the one, of course), a longish table bearing an ashtray (it’s an old-fashioned sort of pub) and a few fat candles. On the adjacent wooden wall are two shelves, on which are bottles of beer and white wine — mainly Tesco Picpoul de Pinet, the house white, so to speak, of The Lockdown. There’s also a bottle of rum that, given what happened the last time I drank rum, I hope never to have resort to, no matter how long the crisis endures.
 It's a charming read. --------------------------------------
Wednesday’s posts are sponsored by Norwegian Log Buildings  - Log cabins and garden buildings for a better quality of life. Click here for more details.

How To Give Your Child A Lifelong Love Of Reading published today


My latest book, published by The British Library, is out today - although I've written it, there are also lots of mini-essays from famous children's writers such as Michael Rosen, Jacqueline Wilson, and Abi Elphinstone. It also features reading lists by age and subject from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE). Available online from your local indie bookseller as well as from the usual suspects. Here's the official bumph:
Full of age-appropriate reading suggestions and ideas to encourage tricky readers, discover how to instill one of life’s greatest skills: curiosity and a lifelong love of learning. Complete with dedicated contributions from Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen, Abi Elphinstone, Cressida Cowell, Hollie McNish, Ken Wilson-Max and Julia Eccleshare, this title taps into an increasing concern about anti-screen activities and return to traditional forms of creative thinking.

How do you create an active reader? Why is reading good for creativity? Why is it vital for teaching the next generation resilience and positive mental health?

In the digital age of never-ending screen time you could argue that the power of books has diminished. But while screens have changed the act of reading, Alex Johnson believes reading is even more important, and that people value books more than ever. This is visible in the sales of printed special editions, the revival in reading aloud, the increased interest in poetry anthologies and the rescuing of ‘lost words’ from obscurity.

But the problem is: with so many competing distractions, which are the best books for children to read and how can we access them? How do we get children to start reading? And how can we encourage them to be curious? How can we encourage their reading and maintain their interest? In this book of practical advice, Alex Johnson brings his tremendous enthusiasm and informed passion to answer these questions, and many more, to ensure a new generation of bookworms are whisked away to new worlds and essential discoveries.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Tips for creating your own garden office


My excellent local paper the Herts Ad asked me for a piece about garden offices as this seemed appropriate for the times we are now living in and you can read it all on their site here. It features suggestions for where to go to if you're thinking of getting one and here's a snippet to entice you in:
A garden office offers a decent solution. Right from the start of the day it offers you the same kind of ceremony as your normal commute (only happily it’s just a 30 second one). This is important as that brief walk down to the end of your garden marks a clear psychological difference between where you work and where you live. You feel like you’ve ‘gone to work’ rather than merely sat up in bed and wedged your laptop onto a pillow. Having an office in the garden also means that you don’t need to cover your kitchen table with papers or turn your dining room or spare room into a makeshift office. Those spaces continue to be used for what they’re intended.
Pictured above, The Cork Studio eco garden office which is made partly from cork and was one of 32 sheds shortlisted in the 2017 Shed of the Year competition. --------------------------------------
Wednesday’s posts are sponsored by Norwegian Log Buildings  - Log cabins and garden buildings for a better quality of life. Click here for more details.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Cressida Cowell reads How to Train Your Dragon from her garden office


Shedworker and Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell has featured frequently on Shedworking, and here she is doing her bit as we go into coronavirus lockdown with a jolly chat and a reading of the prologue from How To Train Your Dragon, all done from her garden office writing shed. It's all part of the launch of BookTrust's new digital hub for families and children, Home Time.

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Tuesday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

Monday, March 23, 2020

Coronavirus pods


Although we've covered shedlike structures as emergency shelters on Shedworking before, we've not done so recently and now seems as good a time as any to take a fresh look at what's out there. Above are special pods produced by Chinese firm Winsun 3D in which people can self-isolate in China, with an emphasis on hospital workers. They are 3D printed and need no foundations so can easily be moved or taken apart and re-assembled elsewhere. They all contain composting toilets, a bed, and a shower.
   

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Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

New Idler magazine out - please subscribe!


Regular readers will know that I write a couple of regular columns for the Idler magazine (one on sheds and shedlike atmospheres, one on the delights of being a half-decen snooker player). It's a great read but what with everything, newsstand sales are likely to be down 90%. If you can afford one, a subscription would really help all concerned. idler.co.uk for more details. Many thanks.
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Sunday posts are sponsored by eDEN Garden Rooms. Stunning, bespoke high quality garden rooms, to suit your unique space and style

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Coronavirus update: Garden offices in Scotland


Glasgow-based Outside In Garden Rooms say they are regularly assessing the developing situation and folloingw directives from the Scottish Government & Public Health authorities. "As it stands our supply chain hasn’t been greatly affected," says Director Mel Russell, "as we are a small fish in a large pond but we do source some materials, via our suppliers from mainland Europe and beyond so will be monitoring this very closely.

"We've put in place strict controls to avoid all contact with our clients homes, all communications are handled by telephone and all building work is conducted well beyond the confines of their homes. With portaloos now installed on all our sites we have no need to enter clients' homes. Sadly, the very kind stream of tea, coffee, biscuits and bacon rolls has had to cease from our clients, so flasks and packed lunches it is for the time being!"

Outside In will be launching a couple of new products soon and we'll be featuring them here on Shedworking. ------------------------------------------------------
Saturday posts are sponsored by woowoo waterless toilets, the best toilet for your garden office

Friday, March 20, 2020

Coronavirus update: Booths offering £1000 discount



Booth's Garden Studios is among the garden office companies who have been in touch with Shedworking with details about what measures they are implementing as a result of the coronavirus.

They will be installing garden studios or annexes with a "no contact" policy i.e. their staff will not come into contact with customers during installation. They are also advising that new customers do not enter their garden office,, studio or annexe after installation for 48 hours. To implement this policy, all the fitters will need to know is where customers want their new building positioned e.g. simple markers placed on the ground like 4 spoons for each of the studio corners would be sufficient or six spoons for an L-shape annexe.

In addition, Booths are also offering £1000 discount on new garden office purchases. "This is to help you in these uncertain times," says Alex Booth, "and to help keep our staff and the uk economy working. Working, but still safe. Safe for you and safe for our staff."

Measures Booths are implementing for our fitting staff include a supply of food so they don't have to go shopping while working, a mobile toilet so they don't have to go offsite, a supply of cleaner for their hands, and cleaning materials to wipe down all surfaces.
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Friday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Coronavirus update: Eden Garden Rooms new site visit details


Continuing our updates on garden offices/shedworking and the impact of the coronavirus, here are some details from eDEN Garden Rooms:

Site Visits: eDEN are still operating site visits to customers' homes where possible, and will carry hand sanitiser to make sure they sanitise their hands before and after leaving any home. They are asking anybody showing any COVID-19 symptoms with a site visit booked to cancel it and re-arrange it as a Virtual Site Visit. Ditto if you have recently returned from a country listed by the Foreign Office as a risk area. Similarly, eDEN is monitoring its workforce and will cancel if necessary.

Virtual Site Visits: eDEN are now offering site visits via What’s App video call or Facetime, relying on customers' measuring up so the company can provide designs and quotations.

Build Teams: The company's specialised builders will keep a 2m distance from homeowners.

This is an abridged summary. For more details, please contact eDEN directly. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thursday posts are sponsored by Cabin Master: garden offices and studios to fit any size garden. Top quality contemporary or traditional buildings.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Coronavirus update: Business as usual at Smart


We're going to provide regular updates re. coronavirus-related news on Shedworking over the coming days/weeks/months, talking to shedworkers and suppliers - as alwasy, we're more than happy to answer any queries so please do email us.

This morning we spoke to Matt Moss, Managing Director at Smart (who launched their new Affinity range earlier in this year, the non-canopy model is pictured above) who said: "For us it is business as usual and we are promoting the fact that we can continue to provide the ideal home office solution without the need to come in contact with the customer.

"We know there are a number of people that are forced to work at home for every good and sensible reason but most are not set up for this and therefore the working from home environment is not conducive for working, with distractions or a proper place of segregation.

"It is important that this is not perceived as what working from home is like, that actually having the right, dedicated and independent space is important. We will continue to offer our stock range which provides rapid turnaround for anyone who needs urgent space for home working."
 
Smart has put out its policy on consultations and installations on its news page here which gives details about site inspections and works, in addition to health considerations. Do take a look and get in touch with them for more information.


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Wednesday’s posts are sponsored by Norwegian Log Buildings  - Log cabins and garden buildings for a better quality of life. Click here for more details.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

RTE One broadcast from garden shed


There are obviously some limits to what you can do from your garden office but it's still impressive how much you can get done while shedworking. Here's a fine example, RTÉ One, the main television channel of Irish state-owned broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann - journalist Claire Byrne last night presented her show Claire Byrne Live from her garden shed as she is in self-isolation at her home due to potential coronavirus symptoms. Here's what she said:

"According to the HSE guidelines, you need to self isolate when you have the symptoms of a cold. So that's what we are doing. Rest assured I'm feeling quite well. We're just being cautious. We're being careful. I will be in compliance with the HSE guidelines because let's face it, the last thing I want to do is to put my colleagues at risk if I do happen to have the coronavirus or indeed our guest."

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Tuesday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

Monday, March 16, 2020

Herald Garden Studio




An attractive multi-use garden office in New Zealand by Parsonson Architects. As well as an office space, it offers the owners - a couple and their two young children - extra play areas as well as mezzanine spare room accommodation. There's also a storage area at the back.
Here's what the architects say about it: "Both the deck, pergola and the main interior space have been conceived as one triangulated structure, stitching together the spaces and reinforcing the interior-exterior connection, while relating to the delicacy of the surrounding vegetation. Materials are unadorned, raw and but carefully assembled. This project is an example of urban infill on a tiny scale, allowing a family to live on a small property close to the city without having to move further afield. The structure and internal linings are made from entirely wood. Linings are zero formaldehyde ‘Strandboard’ finished in natural WOCA oil."
Photographs by Paul McCredie  -------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Building a circular garden building time lapse


Not technically a garden office, but the fine folk at Rotunda do this kind of size for garden studios too as well as for holiday accommodation in this case for The Laundry Garden, and it's interesting to see it take shape.

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Sunday posts are sponsored by eDEN Garden Rooms. Stunning, bespoke high quality garden rooms, to suit your unique space and style

Saturday, March 14, 2020

How to start working from home in a garden office


There's a large move towards working from home at the moment as the result of the coronavirus implications and we've noticed a particular increase in people asking about the nuts and bolts of shedworking and garden offices. For those of you new to the site, here is a decent introduction to the subject from Waltons, which looks at the advantages of a garden office, choosing a model, planning a layout and other key considerations. As always, here at Shedworking we're happy to field any inquiries and point you in the direction of reputable suppliers - all the advertisers on this site have a good track record and if you're interested in investing in a garden office, then click through on the adverts and ask each one for their thoughts.

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Saturday posts are sponsored by woowoo waterless toilets, the best toilet for your garden office

Friday, March 13, 2020

Sam Osborne: shedworker


Here is illustrator and graphic designer Sam Osborne's own take on her 3m x 4m garden studio, built for her by Green Retreats. Sam has also written an excellent blog post about the build in which she looks at everything from researching suppliers, through laying foundations, to the actual build. Here's a snippet:
The garden hadn’t been looked after in over a year so there was a lot of old planting and overgrown shrubs that needed taming and a trellis that ran along the middle, behind which an old veggie plot lay unused. Our plan was to put the office in the back left-hand corner so most of that side of the garden needed to be pulled down and dug out, including the huge laurel bush behind the apple tree! Taking the laurel down was a bit beyond us so we called in some help from a local tree surgeon who chopped it all down and ground the stump out. Once that was all done we had to get rid of everything in the far corner of the garden including compost bins and concreted in fence posts. The area also needed to be level to within a few centimetres, this didn’t look too difficult but the ground was about half a metre out at various points and the roots of about a million shrubs had forced the soil up in strange places. 

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Friday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

A tour of Simon Armitage's writing shed


We mentioned earlier in the month that the Poet Laureate Simon Armitage has launched a new BBC podcast The Poet Laureate Has Gone To His Shed in which he invites people from various creative walks of life into his shed for a chat. He has also done a little tour of his pretty windswept garden office (see below) in which he shows us around. Everybody has some unusual things in their sheds, but I wonder how many have a harmonium, a pizza oven, a daybed, books on birdspotting, a decent spread of music cassettes, and an impressive collection of sherry.

The first episode is out now with singer Guy Garvey from Elbow and you can listen to it here (warning, contains very strong language) who talks about his own shed history (spoiler: it's a greenhouse really).
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Thursday posts are sponsored by Cabin Master: garden offices and studios to fit any size garden. Top quality contemporary or traditional buildings.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Coronavirus and Men's Sheds


The UK Men's Sheds Association has issued advice about the continuing activities of Men's Sheds groups while the Coronavirus continues to cause disruption. This is what they say:

We understand some Shedders may choose to self-isolate and we know how caring the Shedder community is, so please remember to stay in touch with your fellow Shedders by phone or email to check they are okay.  As BT used to say, ‘it’s good to talk’.  It may also be prudent to keep your attendance registers up to date in case a member contracts the disease and you need to contact fellow members who came in to contact with them. Remember – do not be a hero, if you feel ill – even if the Shed depends on you, stay home, stay safe and seek health advice immediately.

The Scottish Men's Sheds Association is similarly encouraging members to stay safe. Here is their advice:

"As a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of Shedders, the SMSA is asking Shedders to think twice before attending their local Men’s Shed if they are feeling ill or have symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath etc). If you are feeling well and intend to go along to your Shed, please take precautions such as washing your hands regularly and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and ensure mugs, cups and cutlery in the Shed are thoroughly cleaned.  Should you experience symptoms, please contact the NHS on 111 and contact your Shed by email or phone to let them know that you are ill. 

"SMSA encourages Shedders to maintain strong support networks to ensure no-one feels isolated.  It is important to be vigilant and look out for our fellow Shedders, friends, family and community members during this time." --------------------------------------
Wednesday’s posts are sponsored by Norwegian Log Buildings  - Log cabins and garden buildings for a better quality of life. Click here for more details.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Chuck Wendig's new garden office




We've covered writer Chuck Wendig's interest in foxes and garden offices before on Shedworking, so were sad to hear that when he moved house he left his garden office behind. But it's a case of 'bad news, good news' since Mr Wendig is now building a new writing shed at his new home, as he says, "a good place for me to hide from the world, write creepy books, and forlornly sip a Scotch-and-Purell cocktail (aka a SCRUB-A-DUB)." Pictured above are images of the build in progress. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tuesday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning