Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Sheds, sheds, all kinds of sheds

where did that come from?

I think it might be to do with "Hair hair, all kinds of hair
Hair on your head, and hair down there" - good old Babette Cole.


... theres a great book, Men and Sheds, devoted to the art of "shedding". Wonderful photos and little thumbnail sketches of sheds and their men - what they do and what they keep in them. From the predictable - tools, workshops, beer etc. - to the less so - collections of bricks, snakes and lizards, milk bottles. From the almost-palatial to the bijou to the historic "grand design" to the nearly-derelict. The book has a few engaging thoughts about the significance of sheds as a refuge, hermit-hole, place of quiet. It also quite specifically sees "shedding" as a male rather than female pursuit.


There is one photo of a "female" shed - because the photographer was both female and has a shed - but there was an accompanying disparaging comment about the net curtains she'd put in it. (well, actually, fair enough - net curtains - eeek!!)

"It has been said that a shed is to a man what a handbag is to a woman - both contain all the essentials for surviving in the modern world and in the same way that no decent man would ever consider looking in a woman's handbag uninvited, so no reasonable woman would dream of setting foot in a man's shed." (Blurb from Men and Sheds)

Well, I don't have a handbag and I don't intend to fill my shed with essentials for survival. So there. (And I don't see how a milk bottle collection is an essential for survival)

Here are some pics. of sheds not to be found in this mostly excellent book. These are proper, serious and very manly sheds.

That of my father:

and my brother-in-law:

These are sheds with windows, electricity and carefully labelled storage systems.

I expect my brother' shed is similarly serious and manly, I couldn't get a photo of it in time for this.

This is the shed at the end of our next-door-neighbour's garden - one of my favourite sheds in the world!
A Sikh family used to live there (next door - not in the shed, silly!) and if they had a big family party, they would stay up all night cooking in the shed. And invite us around to share the wonderful food.

Unfortunately its getting a bit racked and ruined now.

Here is our own proper manly shed stuff, such as we possess - under the stairs:

(we have to be very careful that the meter-reading man doesn't get his head cut off by falling saws)

and in our current outdoor "shed", which is small but not bijou, and mostly crammed full of guinea-pig supplies:

You see why I need an alternative, bijou and non-utilitarian shed?

Here are some other "interesting" links about sheds, isn't the world wide web truly a "phenomenon"?
Sheds I'd like
(probably not really)
Readers Sheds
(yes really)
Expensive sheds
(prices start at £4,245)
Dull Mens Club
(not much on sheds actually, but found whilst searching... Has irresistible links such as A History of Folding Chairs, The Duck Tape Club and Big Ben Cam)

It seems sheds have been linked not only to maleness, but to aged men, to depression (if men are separated from their sheds) to "New Blokism", to Men's Health and to Australia.

Apparently "Men have sheds because women have the castle". Indeed, is that right?

So, I wonder, are Mandy's shed, and my shed-to-be symptoms of women yet again taking over one of the last bastions of masculinity? (sane masculinity anyway. Shed-separation can apparently also contribute to dementia.... )

Are there any men out there feeling threatened by my shedding activities?

It has been suggested that "Women are spending too much time in sheds, and not everyone's happy about it". And that "CREEPING egalitarianism has knocked another rusty nail into the smoothly sanded timber of the male ego. The garden shed, once an exclusively male domain, is being colonised by women".

So I'm part of a world-wide trend. We women are a threat to the "mystical covenant" between men and their sheds.

Or is it just that we want to get out of the washing up too?

I think there might be a PhD dissertation somewhere in all this - for an old, dull, male (demented?) Australian person maybe.

Me - I plan to sit in my shed (with tassels) look at the garden and drink tea.

Or possibly, sometimes, G&T.


euro-trac said...


Your shed will be fab -
it'll have one of these...

See you in France then! :O)

lettuce said...

blimey that was quick!!!

yes, see you there :o}


Tasha said...

Yes! She's quick that one...
Fast trac!

ramblingwoman said...

I eagerly await Lettuce's shed. But while I am waiting, that was very informative! I feel I know quite a lot about sheds now. Thank you.

(painted it yet?)

Kitty said...

That amused me, perhaps I have a secret shed fetish that I have not yet discovered. We have a shed but it is just a haven for things that are chucked in. Perhaps that is because there is no man of the house? Perhaps I should try to get Andre or James interested in sheds - then maybe they would label and organise like your father and brother-in-law?

I used "perhaps" three times in that. Sheds bring out uncertainty in me. Usually my comments are full of "really"s.

I'm going before I become anymore boring.

PG said...

Rubbish, Good God is there nothing about which men cannot feel insecure? OOOOH we're taking over their sheds...diddums. Like most things, men got there first because they had the leisure time to do it in (while we were doing the washing up etc) but it's the 21st century now, and we can all have sheds. And being women, we make them pretty and comfy. I can't wait to see yours.

Rant over. ;)

Geena said...

And you forgot the manly shed that is used as a bolthole from his house...which houses a bed, a TV and a stash of porno mags and rude movies...yup they exist..I have seen it with my own eyes...also seen a marriage collapse due to that type of shed.

I need a pretty shed too - somewhere to hide from the kids.

Molly Bloom said...

Those 'man' sheds are so 'manly' in their organisation and are really, really scary. The one from next door is my favourite. It is like a Summer house. It is fab. And nicer than my home!! I think you should steal it from them. I think there is definitely a shed dissertation calling's just waiting to be written I'm telling you!

Donna said...

I had a summer house in our last house. Paul built it for me as a birthday present and I had visions of being able to disappear into it for long reads and cupss of tea away from the demands of the family. It didn't bloody well happen! Every time I sat down the family appeared or a huge rumpus would happen within earshot and I would have to go and sort it out. *sigh* one day! Our current summer house just has all the garden furniture stuffed into it along with outdoor toys in a very haphazard fashion not lovely and orderly like your sheds. I adore your neighbour's shed, we had a potting shed like that in Kent which doubled up as our outdoor party room.

Bird said...

lettuce, i have never much comptemplated sheds until these posts of yours. this is infectious. and rather annoying - because after all, i have precious little room for a shed. my large balcony is outdoor living space and garden combined - it is getting a bit cramped.

but i do have various shed objects - potting soil, a trowel, a glass bottle of water collected from various places i have traveled to, a broken wind chime, BBQ implements, a faded piece of paper with a scribbled garden poem, extra porch light bulbs, and a baggy of miscellaneous screws (not sure what they go to) happily disorganized in two, large, plastic milk crates at the far end of my balcony. i claim these as a shed.

i would prefer a wooden milk crate shed, but these are hard to come by. but and i'm thinking i might like to decorate my milk crate shed appropriately. i will have to ponder this now, as i am not sure what the appropriate aesthetics are for milk crate sheds.

lettuce said...

Yes, the neighbour's shed is very covetable, isn't it? I would certainly steal it if I could.

The milk crate shed sounds cool - I think any aesthetics that suits you is best.

And I think the shed dissertation is DEF. waiting to be written, but DEF. not by me. Maybe Le Chat should take that on, once she's finished working - it seems you have some shed insecurities to work out, Kitty.

So - no sympathy for/comments from male sheddists?

Dizzy said...

'You' magazine problems page.... Yep, we only read the best!

Garden Shed Sex Secret

Whilst the couple had agreed to water their neighbour’s plants they took a fit of passion and ended up making love in the garden shed. This improved the quality of their sex life so much so that they decided to do it again only to be caught by the neighbours returning early from holiday.

Guess the problem....

A. The neighbours wanted to join in
B. The neighbours were shocked and embarrassed and no longer speak to them
C. They now don't know where to go to revisit their newly found passion
D. The neighbours husband wants to join in
E. … I won’t continue for embarrassing myself……

Kitty said...

Well, Dizzy, thank you for sharing that with us. I've been looking for new ideas for Ruth and I but I just don't think I ever could in a shed. There would be spiders and things and anyway our shed is such a tip I'm sure I'd end up having a nasty argument with a garden cane.

I shall write a dissertation on sheds when I finish work, Letty, just for you. However, I will expect you to mark it and attend all the appropriate day long meetings to moderate my mark, and then I would expect a ceremony where you would award an honorary degree to someone who had made significant contributions to the shed world and there would have to be strawberries and cream and all my friends would be invited to see me awarded my certificate (shed shaped too).

I'm going now. I feel quite enthused on this subject.

ramblingwoman said...

I hope you weren't too hot over the weekend Letty in your shed!!!!.

Any photos yet?

On a literary note see John Osborne's 'Look Back in Anger', I think he had some things to say on sheds, Jimmy I mean. I think he called it the 'glorious shed', or was it the 'ecstatic shed' I must look it up actually.


ramblingwoman said...

I found the quote, it's not really very nice but here it is;

She's moved long ago into a lovely little cottage of the soul, cut right off from the ugly problems of the twentieth century altogether. She prefers to be cut off from all the conveniences we've fought to get for centuries. She'd rather go down to the ecstatic little shed at the bottom of the garden to relieve her sense of guilt.'

(just a quote, Jimmy was a nasty horrid person, didn't know nought)

lettuce said...

You're on Kitty, I look forward to it.

Dizzy - is it C?

And Luce - yes, he was a nasty nasty horrid person.

grumpy old woman said...

Hi Sweetie

Thanks for your lovely comment. Don't know what to add about sheds - our sheds here are communal and house the gas and electricity meters as well as all sorts of rubbish left by previous tenants. I'm in the middle of organising a huge clear out ..... fun, fun, fun

Joanna said...

I have always loved sheds. My parents shed had the ost delious smell of grass cuttings and the petrol lawn mower. Sheds could make a very interesting dessertation subject. Although I would think they are much better at sitting in and having tea or a G&T.

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Carlotti said...

I suffer from shed envy, and yours is a real beauty. I found a FREE one in the classifieds yesterday. Arranged a mover etc, then went to look at it. Lying on its side among large concrete "things." I cancelled the movers.

Hope your mom is doing okay.

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