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The Shed - - Build A Set Of Bunks -

Win­ston Gar­nett and Bernard Gard­ner were the two shed­dies from rhe Men’s Shed North Shore who built the bunks for our project. They ex­plain what keeps them com­ing to work in re­tire­ment.

Win­ston says that see­ing a story on tele­vi­sion about the Men­zshed move­ment was prob­a­bly a life-saver for him. He seems too cheer­ful for dark thoughts but then that’s what the shed can do for you.

He had just moved to New Zealand with his wife after re­tir­ing in South Africa (SA). They have chil­dren with young fam­i­lies both here and in SA but apart from them they knew vir­tu­ally no one here. “You are used to get­ting up and go­ing to work,” says Win­ston. “I’d wake up and think I should be go­ing to work now. It’s a body shock. I was just about climb­ing the walls. If I hadn’t seen that thing on TV, I tell you, in an­other six weeks I’d have been chuck­ing my­self off that bridge,” he says.

Win­ston has the larger-than-life per­son­al­ity suited to his for­mer job as a site man­ager. He’s prob­a­bly jok­ing about the bridge but says that the ben­e­fits of fill­ing that sud­den void in some­one’s life are real enough. He’s now one of the trus­tees of this shed and a key player in much of the ban­ter here three days a week. Chair­man Larry Klassen chips in, say­ing that some peo­ple have joined the shed after be­ing made re­dun­dant, or be­cause they have re­al­ized the skills they de­vel­oped over a life­time ca­reer were no longer rel­e­vant. “You can tell [that] they have lost con­fi­dence but you get them go­ing and next thing you know they are par­tic­i­pat­ing like ev­ery­body else,” he says. Bernard joined the shed after tak­ing early re­tire­ment from a job in tele­coms three years ago. “I didn’t want to do that any more, so I was look­ing for some­thing new.” He ad­mits to hav­ing a few handy skills, hav­ing re­built an Austin 7, fit­ted a three-litre V6 to a Ford Pop­u­lar, built a Model T hot rod that fea­tured head­lights made from brass pot-plant hold­ers, and built a granny flat in his gar­den.

He gets to ex­er­cise his skills and en­joy some good com­pany. Bernard says that a sense of hu­mour, either ac­tive or sal­vage­able, is the lifeblood of shed life: “We are all the same here, so it pays not to take your­self too se­ri­ously.”

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