Most of us fill our sheds with lawn mowers, rusty barbecues, maybe a spade and fork, and the Christmas decorations we simply can’t be bothered to put back in the attic.
One man, however, has built such an impressive shed it’s been short listed for an award. Oh, and it’s also sort of below Blackpool Tower!
Meet Doug Smith, the proprietor of O’Smither’s – an Irish bar with a rugby theme inside. There’s everything you’d expect to see in a ‘real’ pub, except it’s been put together in the garden behind Mr Smith’s home in Carr Lane, Hambleton.
It’s hard to miss when driving through the Over Wyre village, because a restored 20ft replica of the Tower – built by Vickers Armstrong apprentices during the Second World War – sits atop it.
“I, with the help of a good friend, built O’Smither’s three years ago, and then last summer I doubled the size of it to cope with the amount of people who frequent it,” Mr Smith said.
“We use it for socials with good friends, and also to hold get-togethers to raise money for local charities. The majority of the memorabilia within the pub has been bought on eBay.”
The bar has three metal shuttered sides which can be opened during nice weather, and replicated the bricks of the historic Tower building at the back.
Pictures show framed rugby shirts inside, along with risqué stools, a fully-stocked bar, tables and chairs, Irish signs and flags, and even a fruit machine. The miniature Tower also lights up when its dark, just like its big brother on the coast, and was featured in The Gazette when Mr Smith first got it four years ago.
Speaking from Italy, where he was on his honeymoon yesterday, he said the project started after his new bride Caroline asked him whether he could build a pub shed.
Then, during a meal with a friend – who he said is a “good joiner” – a bet was hedged: Who could build the best one?
The answer is simpler than you might expect. The retired sales manager, 59, said: “That was Good Friday three or four years ago and I started on the Easter Monday. He has not started his yet!”
Mr Smith said he keeps an eye out for bargain bar equipment and furniture at car boot sales and when commercial pubs are closing down. An overhead projector cost him £1, while a drinks fridge cost him £20.
The memorabilia is bought online, and Mr Smith said he had “no clue” about the total cost – with the project never quite finished.
“It’s one of those things that never gets finished,” he said. “We’re always adding to it. This week there was a retro Coca Cola fridge. It never stops.
He added: “I can sit 34 people in the pub. Everybody loves it and can’t believe how authentic it is. It’s got the wow factor.”
O’Smither’s has been nominated in the Pub and Entertainment category in the 2018 Shed of the Year competition.
The winner will receive £1,000 from sponsor Cuprinol along with a plaque, £100 of Cuprinol products, and a giant crown for their winning shed. Competition includes a Legoland-inspired haven, a shed floating on skis, and a black cab converted into an outdoor bedroom.
The contest, now in its 11th year, attracted nearly 3,000 entries which have been whittled down to just 24 hopefuls.
Voting is now down to the public, who can vote for the best shed in each categorybefore a “panel of shed experts” decides on the victor. Go to www.readersheds.co.uk.