Canal sheds bugs, bogs and bushes

What do retired men do when their wife gets fed up with them in the house? Some push off down the garden or  allotment if the weather is OK. Or perhaps down their shed but that can be a lonely place, unless they got some other friends around, then it would be too cramped to swing an circular saw. That’s where Men in Sheds comes in, an initiative to get groups of men, yes MEN for a change .. no apologies to the women’s institute either!, men together in a larger communal shed to create what ever they want. A local council guy is spearheading the startup of a local men’s shed. He says its for nippers (Not In Paid Permanent Employment or Retired). We went for a shed crawl last week around a couple of established sheds. Wow! So much talent, and cake, and expertise, and tea, and enthusiasm, and tea and cake. In one we saw a couple of their model railways with canals.

Narrow boat on small canal

Narrow boat on small canal

The detail of the folded canvas on the work boat was fantastic

part of the layout with staircase locks

part of the layout with staircase locks

The modelling is but one aspect. Some make bird boxes, some repair anything electrical for the public, some make disability aids. One guy was building an electric car from a Reliant Kitten and doing a PhD on the in built data acquisition system he was installing.

Tiny part of the Milton Keynes  shed Tiny part of Milton Keynes shedIMG_20140321_120017

Last week was a good week for hedge layering. I’d not tried that before but with a team of volunteers (Mainly MEN) we turned a straggly line of short trees into a neat hedge. Or at least it will be neat once it has grown back a bit. The only slight irritation was the insistence on use of high viz jackets (in case we bumped into each other I suppose) and the warning not to go near the canal ( most of us have/hire or use boats). But a most satisfying day it was.

Hedgelayering  on the Grand union

Hedge layering on the Grand union

Finally we are pleased to say that the old toilet has left these parts for a new life in the north (Newcastle). An ebay bidder won the auction at  £1 more than the reserve (they were the only bidder). Then started the problem of getting it couriered. Toilets are on the prohibited list of many couriers, as are batteries, marble, liquids, and just about anything you would want to post from A (Alcohol) to V (Vodka)!.Why are those two listed separately? Who does not know that vodka has alcohol in it?  Anyway ipost took it away today. The new owners had me send it to a primary school in Newcastle. I can’t help wondering why? Do they think that southern toilets have had a poor education? I mean its not that there is anything for them to read now toilet paper is not printed with IZAL on it. And as for maths, they only have to count up to two, as in number one and number two. Well I really don’t know, but I will think of it sitting at a school desk on Monday in its new class. Ahh that’s it. Perhaps the new owner is a teacher and wants somewhere appropriate to put all of Mr Gove’s (minister for education) ideas.

And finally, finally, what about bugs in the title of this post. When I looked at the model railway with the model people  working around their model sheds I was reminded of that saying sometimes attributed to J Swift but at any rate made way before bacteria and viruses were discovered. It goes something like this

Big fleas have little fleas,
Upon their backs to bite ’em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas,
and so, ad infinitum.

But in this case it could be

Big sheds have little sheds,
Made by men that like ’em,
And little little sheds have lesser sheds,
and so, ad infinitum.