It seems that sheds are all the rage. There are books on sheds, brochures on sheds, TV programmes on sheds; there's even the equivalent of 'shed porn' websites (not really you understand) on which enthusiasts download images and arrange shed parties or whatever else they do. I'd bet there's been academic papers with titles like 'the itinerant shed and its role in a post-modern society'.
In my case, the attraction is part nostalgic. My grandfather had a gimcrack cabin he would retire to after his daily trip to the Legion. It smelled of beer and leeks and had net curtains and a tripod table with a lace tablecloth. The walls were covered in our childhood drawings which in some cases he'd framed, though he was as good as blind.
There's also a need for space - 'thinking' a much as 'physical' - which some would argue is a reflection of our homes and lifestyles. But in fact, the idea of a creative haven has a long tradition, as well as practical application in so far as it allows for materials to be readily available and projects easily returned too. My recent playing of the saxophone gives this a new twist - I'm regularly banished to give the family some peace, rather than the other way round!
I've often wondered about the benefit of installing sheds at the office - it's an attractive idea, but doomed to failure. In no time they'd be demarcated; there'd be rules and regulations, an on-line booking system, plasma screens and tea and coffee on demand - they'd be a pastiche of the real thing, a veneer for the ego; out of touch with the original purpose.
Not that there is some deep meaning or meta-purpose in the sheds themselves - that too would be bollocks. They are simply a means to fun, to reconnecting, to winding down, to time alone - or in my case, to time with Dylan - twice this week we've had a 'shed-night': watched a movie, had some snacks, read stories and woken up to the dawn chorus - precious times. What's that phrase... can never come again?
But if times can't come again; ideas are constantly recycled. I couldn't help noticing the shed of the year's resemblance to the upturned boats on Lindisfarne. They have been there, icons of time and place, for more than a century - the oldest dates from 1902. Believe it or not, they're now in the care of the National Trust - so much for the humble cabin.
And not a drop of Cuprinol in sight.