For regular readers of this column you will have discovered I have a love of musicals, live performances, crafts, cake and anything a little sparkly.
However, you may not have realised I have a also have a bit of a passion for wood!
In this world of mass produced, flat pack, chip board and MDF I still love to see wood being used wherever possible and so was delighted to be invited to the Littlehampton and District Shed (LADS) West Men’s Shed opening morning to meet with the members and see the work and projects they do.
Growing up, my dad always encouraged me to join in when he was doing any type of DIY and I can remember one of my earliest Christmas presents being my own tool set with which I made various small wooden items.
I still occasional get the tools out to do the small amount my knowledge allows but have always appreciated the hard work that goes into making a beautifully crafted piece, so I was looking forward to seeing what the members had done.
On arrival that wonderful smell of freshly cut wood hit me, it’s one of my favourite smells. I was greeted by Pat Doherty, the lead member, who made me feel very welcome and showed me around their two level shed.
Going upstairs first I was shown pictures of the shed as they had first found it 18 months previous in much need of some TLC. I could tell straight away they had obviously put a lot of hard work into getting the venue right and usable for their craft.
I was then shown some of the wonderful items they have spent their time making, from small items such as candle holders and children’s toys, to larger items including restored garden benches and bird feeders.
The group make many different items with some being ‘stock items’ to sell at fairs and such to bring in money to keep the group going, while other projects are community based such as bat boxes for Mewsbrook Park.
Downstairs in the shed is the heart of the hard work, with band saws, lathe, drills, and all sorts of tools laid out just waiting to be used to create their next item.
The group are members of an international organisation called Men in Sheds that originated in Autralia and is now spreading the world.
The aim of the shed is to provide a place where mostly retired senior men can on a regular basis. The focus is based on making and restoring things for charities and organisations as well as working on personal projects too.
The chance to chat meet new friends and socialise is very important to them too.
Anyone interested in joining them can find out more by visiting their website www.ladswest.org.uk.
Saturday morning I took the opportunity to attend the launch of the latest art exhibition at Littlehampton Museum.
The exhibition, titled Light, featured a range of work from local artists in various forms with many clearly taking inspiration from our local points of interest.
Artists of all abilities and mediums were invited to submit work, and each submission displayed its own unique and intriguing take on the theme.
The museum team, with the help of celebrated local artist Steve Carroll, were given the tricky task of selecting the artwork that would be displayed in the final exhibition.
It was pleasing to see so many exhibitors along with their families and friends taking the chance to view the exhibition at its official launch.
With so much local talent I would encourage residents to pay a visit to the exhibition at the museum, based at the Manor House in Church Street.
Entrance is free of charge and is well worth a visit. The exhibition runs until November 10 and for more details visit the museum’s – website www.littlehamptonmuseum.co.uk
That evening I was further afield than normal having been invited by the mayor of Burgess Hill to enjoy a reception and watch their torchlight procession, bonfire and fireworks presented by the Burgess Hill Bonfire Society.
Being a member of the Littlehampton Bonfire Society it made a change for me to be spectating rather than participating myself, but it was a pleasure to see our own society members out in force supporting Burgess Hill.