Posts Tagged ‘Men’s shed’

A Man’s shed with rabbit hutch.

April 21, 2015
In Belgium at 5 or 6 years. ( to put on weight).After the war.

In Belgium at 5 or 6 years. ( to put on weight).After the war.

With the weather blowing down large trees on top of cars with boats and houses being swept into raging rivers and stormwaters, we decided to stay put and hover around our computers. You know, with that cold  listless and all persuasive lack of motivation I ended up clicking aimlessly here and there, waiting for  a thought to bubble up. It wasn’t easy. Even Milo was uninspired laying under the table with a depressing view of all the cables knotted up  plugged into an assortment of  electric multi plug boards that are supposed to save us from getting an electric shock during thunderstorms. I don’t know what goes on during the night but all those computer leads are now knitted and twisted into one another as if also in anxious dread of what might come next.

Our state  had a storm that has cost lives and our premier will appear on TV soon to put at ease the people that have been affected by this huge storm. Politicians only now appear to alley our fears and dread.  Last week it was an ice epidemic then an Isis related terrorist teenager with intend to behead someone.

Sometimes good things happen. Last week on a walk we went into one of those markets that seem to pop up without us knowing anything about it. This is no wonder because we don’t really are involved much with the local community. Even though we walk daily through this town, we don’t have the pulse on the latest of events or happenings. Most of social life seems to be centred around the churches and its parishioners of which many are sprinkled around the neighbourhood. I do tend to read their latest messages of a profound insight such as ; “Jesus carries the only safe arms” or, “Jesus loves confessing sinners.” They also often put on a good sausage sizzle no doubt to lure in hungry sinners. But, we are not church goers and yet I confess, will callously eat the sausages.

This  latest market was put on by a Uniting church who also give out warm and healthy meals to anyone who walks in. Anyway, we too walked in and scrounged around, always ready for a bargain. Helvi bought a bag with an imprint of Newspaper articles on the outside cotton material, looking very smart. I scanned for something in the nature of food which is sometimes resented by H. “Can you  think of something better to look at and do then just eating.” It is the ‘just eating’ that has the sting in its tail.

At the bottom of where the churches stall was being held are several large sheds. They are being used solely by men and are called logically ‘Men’s shed.’ I heard about the movement of ‘men’s shed.’They sprouted up as a result of many men being affected by depression or anxiety,trauma from  wars or marital whiplash, unemployment, loneliness or just wanting company. The government sat up an organisation called amongst many other forms they would try and help men whereby it was hoped men would feel more comfortable in sheds and make things, work with tools or play with computers,  or just sit around,  perhaps have a coffee, feel free to unburden to an uncritical and supporting network of only other males.( no females!)

After going in to see what the shed was about, two friendly men greeted me warmly. They were selling some stuff as well, saw benches, electric planes, wood working machinery and some bicycles given by the police. I told them I was interested in buying a bike if it could have brakes. I did not want to risk riding home down-hill on a bicycle without brakes. They promised it would be fixed by next Tuesday which is today. I went there and noticed many men working the machinery, but no bike and no one seemed wanting to say  a hi or just give a look. Everyone was steeped over what they were making. One man was making a rabbit hutch. I knew because he had a large rabbit in a small wire box looking on.  I coughed a bit, swirled around some , trying to catch attention, hoping for a response. I remained invisible. I went outside at the back where they stored all sorts of wood panelling and odds and ends but no bike or man. In again I went, but no talking or a look. The rabbit looked at me, a bit concerned but not its owner.

My paternal grandparents

My paternal grandparents

It struck me then if it would have been a women’s shed the talk would be there. I am sure that many men seem to not want to talk, even when together. It is all such a serious business being a man. I love talk but can’t force other men to talk. There are no women sheds.   I suspect because women are natural talkers and givers of recognition and acknowledgments to other people.  They don’t need a shed to make things in order to unburden themselves or talk with each other.

Perhaps I am wrong and talk too much!

The Men’s Shed of no Returns.

March 19, 2014
Double glazing in Finland

Double glazing in Finland

There has been a ruckus in my shed. The shelves in the garage were put up in ever increasing numbers. I now have spare shelves. I never seem to do things by halves. An accusation levelled at me over the years by my dearest H follows a certain tradition. This is often followed by introspection and soul searching. “You are an obsessive maniac” followed by “calm down, think a bit more about it.” She then adds, ” think it through!”

It is true that I get overly wrought up about things. I have learnt to accept that part of me which I can’t change. The shelving is but a small but pertinent example. Let me explain. The small shed called my ‘man’s shed’ (notice the singular ‘man’ and not ‘men’,) is where we store stuff un-storable inside a neat but cosy home. My shed stores items such as a lawnmower, rakes of various descriptions, shovels, a chain saw and many other tools including a circular saw, a sander, router, jigsaw and a grass snipper that is battery operated and allows to work a bit like a whipper snipper cutting grass along beams or edges. There are also various little boxes of screws, rawl plugs, balls of garden string and even an empty gas bottle, many spanners, bolt cutters, electric fence pulse reader, electric wooden beam finder for plaster walls required for banging in nails to hang pictures and lots of all sorts. Some items are not identifiable anymore, remnants of past obsessions.

So, this brought me to put up shelving in the garage away from the overfull shed. A real Man’s shed ought to be mainly for introspection and reflection and not just for listless tools or a sad unemployed chainsaw. My shed needed emptying. I followed the usual path of getting very excited about the prospect of drastic change where my shed would once again revert and become my bode for calm repose and a depository of much loved but useless empty thinking, churning hopeless and forlorn ambitions. All for future shedding. It is truly amazing how much useless thinking can be shelved.

The building of the shelves in garage followed the usual pattern. Totally over the top trips to the timber yards and more and more shelves were bolted onto the inside garage walls. I ran a gauntlet of emptying the Man’s shed while filling up the garage shelves. I stopped finally and changed over to the contemplation of double glazing the windows and sliding door inside our lounge/dining/kitchen area. Numerous quotation were obtained and the excitement reached fever pitch (again).

While winters can be chilly, Australia is no match for Finland. I spent a winter there when it got as low as -40 c. I remember walking in that cold and arriving at H’s parents farm house looking like a frost bitten Omar Sharif out of Dr Zhivago. The eyebrows coated with small cones of ice. I wanted to discover how long one could last in those sort of temperatures. H. soon embraced her Omar and brought me back from the brink. 😉

Here at our home in Australia the winters are nothing like Finland’s. I do like the idea of saving and retaining heat. Double glazing would achieve that. Of course, the idea of a cosy warmth seeping out almost immediately through lots of 4mm glass windows and door panes is disturbing for those forever drawn to the possibility of any loss. The idea of the heaters kicking in every few minutes to keep temperature to a comfy 20c. drove me to contemplating double glazing. The ceilings already have been taken care of some years ago with thermal blankets. Windows are next.

We have had three quotations. They range between $5000.- and $8000.-for about 14 sq. metres of windows and door. We will never recoup the cost but we figure that the peace and retention of comfort will make it worthwhile.

What do you reckon?

Shelves for the Men’s shed.

March 11, 2014
The men's shed

The men’s shed

With my foray into men’s sheds I decided, as a warm up, to try and install shelving in my garage. I would get to use an electric drill, chisels, an electric saw and a hammer. Above all, it would give me an opportunity to get the feel of being in ‘a shed’. A man’s dream come true. I would get saw dust in my hair and dirt under my finger nails. H. would be so proud of me. All that staring at a computer screen has made me lose sight of the real essentials of life. Making things happen with my hands. I would regain my real inner self, my proud manhood. I’ll be beating my hairy chest once again. Like I used to.

I found my tape measure and wrote down the timber length needed for the shelving. The shelving would fit between brick piers of the garage wall. I needed to find space to store the tools needed to build the shelving. I know this sounds a bit circular but a man needs shelving to store his tools needed to build the shelving. No cost would be spared. I would use cedar wood all dressed to a butter smooth finish. My chisels, electric tools and hammer would feel nicely cared for, even after I have gone.

Last week during a ferocious hail storm twister, a huge branch of a Manchurian tree broke. It fell across the driveway hitting the roofs of the opposite town-houses. Someone must have called the Emergency Rescue squad even though no one was actually pinned down under the tree. A few sturdy men in fluoro jackets turned up very quickly.

They had large lettering printed on the back of their jackets indicating their status as Rescue experts. They wore helmets and ear-muffs. They carried and exuded authority and a large chainsaw. In little time the fallen tree was cut into small pieces and dragged away from the drive-way. They would have extremely proud wives and partners. Have I missed my vocation? I too could have been a chainsaw carrying emergency Rescuer. Instead, I am nothing but a fiddler in a shed building shelves to store tools to build shelves.

Even so, no good fretting and regretting of what could have been. I could just as easily have ended up sleeping rough or living a life without a hammer. I drove to the Home timber yard and had 6 cedar shelves cut. They measured 1020 mm long by 190mm wide.

I remember reading of a man who built his own coffin. He put this coffin in his lounge room. He did not want anyone else to be responsible for his own death. He felt that at least he could ‘own’ his own death.

The storm

The storm

He also built the two trestles that the coffin was resting on. Truly a diligent man. I have rarely heard anything even close to someone having that kind of foresight. I can well imagining him waking up each morning satisfied that ‘all was now in order’. Perhaps he even tried it out occasionally. Perhaps while watching TV or listening to a Mozart concert. There too would have been saw dust on the floor and dirt under his fingers.

He had found himself.

The men’s shed

March 2, 2014
men's shed

men’s shed

Why don’t you go and visit the men’s shed? You seem to be taking naps all the time. Each time I come down you are asleep. Have you taken your thyroid tablet? I hear that men’s sheds are taking off everywhere. It might help with your gloomy moods. You might meet a nice man.

This à propos a conversation last week with H when the rain would not stop. The sky was grey. A perfect match for my mood. Yet the day before when the sky was just as grey, I felt ready to tackle the world, I even undertook a trip to Woolies to take advantage of a wine offer. Two bottles for the price of one. It is odd when I know that those sort of offers are just so much scam. Why do I still fall for that? Considering I pride myself on having some business acumen? No wonder their profit was up yet another 16% with mugs like me lurking around.

Shops now sell goods in multiples. Two loaves of bread cheaper than one. Six scissors for the price of two. Even two scissors for one is silly. I can only cut with one pair or eat only one loaf of bread at the time. Alas, consuming has to be sped up, faster, faster and more of it. All of it in vacuum sealed packages that are so hard to open you need secateurs. No worry, three of them for the price of one. We now have two jars of scissors on the kitchen bench with three secateurs.

Aldi’s sells the most mouth-watering packets of tools and tool accessories. I bought a box of Phillip screwdriver heads, not Phillip screwdrivers, no just the heads. Show me a Phillips screw, and boy am I prepared. I have a head for every conceivable Phillips screw. It is nice to be so secure in the world of Phillips screws. I noticed in their latest catalogue there is a special on a box of allen keys as well. Must rush out and get one. One can never have enough allen keys.

I did look up the local men’s shed. It has a kind of spiritual aura about it with the land and shed donated by the help of the local church. The past meetings all recorded on the internet does mention The Lord and other hints of a higher being ready to offer salvation. I am not sure if I haven’t left salvation a bit late but am happy to go to an even better place with even more boxes of exotic screw heads, allen keys, and extra loaves of bread. I suppose for many men, heaven could not be much better than a gigantic type of Bunnings Hardware with a Lions club tent of barbecued sausages (with mustard, tom/barbecue sauce) available at any time of the day and night.

I’ll think about joining the men’s club. Their web-side has photos of blokes (the men are called blokes in this shed) busy with making things of wood or metal. There is a smaller shed for blokes with internet problems. I could do with some help with the torture that Windows 8.1 has involved me in. It is so complicated with the screen changing as soon as I move the mouse off-screen. Everything is so much Internet/electric torture and difficult now-a-days.

I feel I need a shed just for my own blokey self. That’s what it has now come to. It would have a divan, a bookshelf and a coffee grinder machine. Perhaps with a bit of ply-wood and my Aldi tools I could fashion a nice little wooden box, paint it an egg-shell beige. I could than think about what I would put in the box.
Perhaps my collection of Phillips screw heads? Things are looking up!