Every year we cover the Shed of the Year competition, and every year it is full of surprises. I was a judge of it once so give it a critical eye; this year's winner, a former hen house (the Mirror says it was a dilapidated outhouse) is the Inshriach Distillery, now converted into " the Inshriach Farm shop, Ladies waiting room, Saloon Bar and Distillery." The competition has grown so much since TreeHugger started covering it; now it is described in the Mirror:
The shed beat 2,520 other entries to win the prestigious title, including a mobile miniature railway wagon, a floating beach hut and a corrugated cottage which was used by land girls during the Second World War.
Prestigious it is, but I have a bit of trouble with this one. It's BIG. I mean really, these usually go in the Tiny Houses category. I tend to admire the sheds built by those wonderful salt of the earth English types; the 2013 winner, the upside down boat shed, is a classic of the genre. The 2014 winner was Joel Bird's green roofed eco-shed.
George Clarke, the presenter of the TV show about the shed competition notes that "The nation’s love for transforming their garden shed to an extension of the home is really on trend right now." But this is sort of a corporate transformation. It doesn't have that quirky charm that so many of the past winners do. It also pushes the definition of shed, a big issue in this year's competition. There was a debate earlier on Wales Online that asked So, when is a shed NOT a shed?
For instance, I was not alone in questioning whether a Comac Hawkins' boat could actually be called a shed; it's got an outboard motor!
I'd dispute the classification of a floating shed with an outboard motor into the category of "normal sheds" on #shedoftheyear— Tom (@Tom_Mitty) June 22, 2015
Andrew Wilcox, who runs the competition explains that the definition is pretty loose. He tells Wales Online:
The dictionary definition of a shed is a simple roofed structure used for garden storage, to shelter animals, or as a workshop. Of course we have stretched that a bit when it comes to Shed of the Year as we try to not take the competition too seriously in terms of guidelines. It upsets some purists but come on - it's a competition about sheds - they are supposed to be happy places!
He's right. I should settle down in a comfy chair in the ladies room if they will let me in, sip on a gin, relax and enjoy the fun. More at the Shed Blog.
Oh, and the runner up was the terrific Owl shed, covered in TreeHugger here.