Summer Time Saunter

On Monday 15th July Shed Time members met for our annual excursion on the common — by foot or by bicycle — and sampled the cool evening air, the delicate chirp of birdsong, the sweet smell of wild flowers in bloom. You get the picture. We returned to the customary Argentine BBQ. It was supplemented by a beer tasting experience courtesy of TwoTribes Brewhouse.


 We met the master brewer, gained a fascinating insight into the beer-making process, asked questions a-plenty and, of course, indulged in a lengthy ‘product sampling’ session.

From 3 Under Par to 3 Years Behind Bars

John Hoskinson was a world ranking golfer and the former resident pro at the RAC club. His life turned upside down when, after a drink at the 19th hole, he hit and killed a cyclist on his drive home. In the blink of an eye, John had swapped the haven of Surrey golf clubs for the squalor and danger of some of the toughest prisons in the country.

John Hoskison

On Monday 25th March 2019, John came and spoke to us about his fall from elite sportsman to a life behind bars, and his journey of redemption and forgiveness. He talked about his golfing career and the extreme highs and lows of his life; providing ample motivation and inspiration. It was a deeply raw, moving and thought-provoking talk from a man who had a captivating story to tell. If you missed the event you can hear what John said.

It came as no surprise to Shed Time regulars that the usual trimmings were on offer; the Argentine BBQ, free beers and some very suspect wine.

Blue — Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces

On Monday 10th December 2018 we heard John Sutherland tell his extraordinary story of a life on the front line of policing and hostage negotiation, and a stark account of his breakdown. As promised, it was an engaging, thought-provoking and inspiring evening.

Blue (Detail)

John has delivered a condensed version of his message at a TEDx event. If you’d like to hear the talk delivered at Shed Time, you can hear it here.

The Dark Night of the Shed

In September 2018 we were joined by Nick Page, a celebrated author of over 80 books. Nick shared some insights into his exploration into the phenomenon of the male midlife crisis. He explained how he reviewed the options for how to deal with it and concluding, unconventionally, that by meeting it head on it can be a freeing and positive experience, rather than a negative one. Nick’s answer to this was to build a shed. Not to answer the questions he found himself asking, but so that he’d at least be able to get some peace to think about it properly.

Nick Page

As usual, we had our Argentinian steak-house chefs firing up the BBQ and there were beers a-plenty and a selection of cheap wine (the sort you begrudgingly give as a Christmas present to a relative you don’t much care for).

For more about Nick, see his website. To listen to the talk, click here.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

The Shed Time summer event, held on a balmy Monday evening in June, was a short(ish) walk on the common. A bike ride also set off for those who prefer to navigate their way through life on two wheels. Both groups returned in good time to enjoy the traditional BBQ and beers.

You'll Never Walk Alone

The delights of the common opened up as we walked, we chatted, we debated and we got to know each other better — neighbours and friends, one and all. We’ve received strong, positive feedback about the event and will be sure to repeat it soon.

The Wisdom of Crowds

For our March 2018 event we opened up the floor to our Shed Time community.

The amazing Argentine BBQ was once again fired up and the bar suitably restocked to provide much needed refreshment after a hard day’s toil.

Our aim with Shed Time is to strengthen the sense of community between men in the local area; to increase the feeling of ‘doing life together’. We realise that each of us have stories to tell; advice to be dispensed, lessons learned to be shared. We therefore took the opportunity to harness this collective wisdom; to seek the advice from the front line.

The Wisdom of Crowds

The event was far more interactive in nature, affording those present an opportunity to share what we’ve discerned over the years, and to listen and learn from others. There was no pressure to participate, but we shared stories and sought – or offered – advice in equal measure. The topics on the menu were all relevant to our lives, which included :

  • Parenting & Grandparenting
  • Work
  • Health
  • Worry
  • Bereavement
  • Flatulence
  • Family & Relationships
  • Friendship
  • Life
  • Money & Debt
  • Shed Time
  • Community
  • Emotions
  • Mid-Life Crisis
  • BBQ
  • Sleeping Well
  • Growing Old
  • Vice
  • Sheds

We asked :

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

What is the greatest (or worst!) bit of advice you’ve received?

It was great to see so many people turning up and offering sage-like nuggets to the group.

Choose Life

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a family, a set of friends and nice cosy house in a nice cosy village in a nice cosy part of the country. Choose how you spend your free time and your money. Choose not ignoring or judging those less fortunate but lifting them up and helping them unlock their potential. Choose seeing the good in people, and being willing to give them a second chance…and a third. Choose the impact you make. Choose victory in the face of defeat. Choose your legacy.

Choose Life

The latest Shed Time event ‑ Choose Life – was powerful, at times emotional, and above all uplifting. Nick, Kaylea and Jenna’s stories showed just how transformational the decision to ‘choose life’ can be, even when the situation can seem so bleak. They also serve as a powerful reminder that a support network is crucial; that places such as The Meeting Room can help turn people’s lives around; and that we too can play our part by offering our skills, our time, or just by adopting a less judgmental attitude to those homeless or disadvantaged people we come into contact with.

You can listen again to the event here (part 1 and part 2).

Shed Time Presents : Life Stories

The latest Shed Time event was of a more intimate nature and featured interviews with Ashtead locals Tim Hodgson, Steve Kershaw and Richard Saks, men with differing talents and careers of distinction. The evening was by turns absorbing, challenging and inspiring.

Life Stories

We learned how they coped with issues such as bereavement, the near-loss of a baby daughter after open-heart surgery, neglecting family for work, finding direction in life and being purpose-driven in your career.

We heard how family, faith and close friends all played vital roles in providing the support needed to get through the darkest times, and how it’s essential to ‘make every day count’.

Listen to the full event here : part 1 and part 2.

The Work-Life Balance

The Shed Time ‘Year of the Man’ theme continued with an exploration of achieving a successful work-life balance.

Patrick Fleming is a former Finance Director of Cadbury Schweppes’ and Chairman of Divine Chocolate and Pomegreat and is the current Chairman of Peppersmith. He’s also Chairman of Surrey Squash and on the National Forum Group of England Squash, having represented Surrey in the national inter-county Masters championships.

Patrick Fleming

Patrick came to Shed Time to speaki about his journey of discovery of what he believes he’s here for and what he should be doing with his life. He described how he intentionally plans his life, sets his life priorities and tackles the ever-present challenge of balancing life inside and outside the workplace. He stressed the importance of having a mission, and from that setting your goals and aligning your priorities to meet those goals.

Throughout his talk he offered insights into how we can apply these practices to our own lives and deal with the inevitable issues that arise when that equilibrium is disturbed through such things as unfulfilled ambitions, life changes and the ageing process.

To listen to the talk, click here.

Avoiding Your Blind Spots

The latest Shed Time event for men was held on Monday, 27th February 2017. During this time we explored the theme of ‘blind spots’.

We all have blind spots, yet so many of us don’t know that. Some of them detrimentally affect our job performance, even the quality of our relationships at home and elsewhere.

Dan Haigh

Daniel Haigh spoke about what he’s learned on his own journey and as a coach and mentor. He also explained the essential role that friends, and sometimes coaches or counsellors, play in addressing our blind spots. He covered :

  • Do you realise you have blind spots?
  • How do you identify them?
  • How do you deal with them?

In just 35 years Dan has risen from tea-boy to CEO. He’s now a life coach and an in-demand public speaker. He’s worked with clients who range from young adults looking for direction in life, men and women struggling relationally, to leaders and CEOs aiming to increase impact.

As usual, complimentary drinks and snacks (a BBQ!) were served on the night.

Click here to hear the talk in full.