This piece on The Peak (of the coronavirus) is a story worth reading. It’s inserted at the beginning of this blog so it does not get missed. It communicated to several of us so it fits this blog post heading!

The Peak


If nothing else we have realised over the past two months how important interaction with others  is for our wellbeing. There has been one thing that has helped me and many others in the community  cope – it’s the rapid adoption of videoconferencing. Simply seeing faces makes all the difference

These are not our Shedders, of course. Too clean cut for that!

Some resist this and some Shedders are amongst those. But I’m discovering that they become converted to i t when the feeling of isolation from family and close friends at a distance leads them to join in a Zoom meeting with relatives. Probably helped by a younger relative to set it up and assist. I know of 90 year olds using it now. 

Covid-19 will decline we trust, though it could be with us long term and there can be renewed spikes. Staying physically apart (2m) seems to be the norm for a long while to come. No cuddling Shedders outside your family at home!

The leap forward with video use personally (and in large conferences and church services) is surely permanent. It will evolve and the benefits of it will continue to be realised.

Two months ago I had not heard of Zoom, though I have used Skype and predecessors for a decade. Keeping up contact mainly with people overseas for work and friendships. As lockdown struck here it also struck in Australia and my son there needed to rapidly set up facilities for teacher led distance learning on 3 school campuses. He was using Zoom (a business conferencing and information sharing product). I gradually learnt how he had “cheated” the system so that students and teachers used familiar terms like class, room, hall and staff room and these were mapped onto the groups of individuals involved (25 students and a teacher in classroom terms).

Look on your school timetable and your class is at 2pm in Room 6. Wait for the teacher to open the class. You can enter the waiting area in advance but you will not be able to talk to others.

It wasn’t long before my teacher son across the moor was doing something similar with Microsoft Teams. I hope it doesn’t become the new norm but it WILL have its place because the technology opens up a window on the world outside.

The UK Men’s Shed Association started to “broadcast” a weekly 2 hour Shed Show facilitated by Frome 96.6fm. Guernsey did the same using video too. Whitby Sheds featured in both so we had an introduction to making friendships with stranger Sheds in this way. Working together in a Shed=like way but between distant Sheds – even in Australia.

We intend to make a leap  and commitment to adopt videconferencing in and between our 4 Sheds and with the outside Shed and the non-Shed world too. Using Zoom.

Here are two slides that illustrate some of the Shed usage requirements. A look at objectives in Shedder terms.


The intention is to put our Sheds in contact with their members and other Sheds.

One of the essentials to look in on Sheds is broadband. Staithes does not have that because of site difficulties. However in a recent conversation with Isabelle Harrison of Lythe Farmers’ Breakfast (BrianH drives for them) we learnt about Signa/Moorsweb which serves rural areas with difficult broadband coverage. 

Yesterday we had a visit by Signa to assess possibilities for serving Staithes Shed. Services need clear line of sight to transmitters. Another transmitting station is need to eliminate hills (!). Possible, but not immediate. It would be free to us as a community group (as in BayThorpe). 

The possibility for now is a dongle. Not the plug in the side of a laptop mobile kind but a receiver on the outside of the building led a modem.

That is now being assessed in their office and we should be able to proceed quickly to trial. JIT for what we are now planning across the Sheds.

Signa are a small company with a big heart for community. They clearly relish a challenge and they are serving our rural communities. NYCC were prime facilitators and encouragers I believe. All good collaboration. Thanks Isabelle:-)

More collaboration

In a Zoom chat a week ago with Kate Gordon of UK Men’s Shed Association (UKMSA) and Andy Ryland of Yorkshire Community First we obviously talked Sheds, Coronavirus and Lockdown Even talked about how to restart Sheds.

Andy mentioned an e-Shed idea he was aware of and that rang with our thoughts for Shut-In Shedders. We want to provide life-long Shedding even when people have difficulty leaving home. We’d like the ability for people to be a part of a virtual Shed but able to look into the real thing for the banter and camaraderie. 

Graham had not been in fundraising mode but Andy knew of the Coronavirus Community Fund managed by Two Ridings Community Foundation.  The outcome is that we have put together an application for some funding to assist on two or three fronts on this connectivity idea. Submitted it within a week and the result will be known within a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, two or three of us are proceeding with some experimentation towards having a ShedComms se and Whitby to the world!rvice to connect Shedders with Shed, Sheds with Sheds

Watch this space for more news as groundwork continues.

No sooner said than it happened. Exchanges with Sigma/MoorsWeb :-

.From: Julie Boswell | Signa Technologies Ltd
Sent: 29 May 2020 16:40
To: Graham S
Subject: Re: Moorsweb Contact Form

Hi Mr Storer
Nice to meet with you yesterday and I hope you managed to sort Tom and his wood out ;o).  Great to hear about what the Sheds do for the community, and believe these types of projects are vital for the wellbeing of the community as a whole.
We have some good options for both your sheds (Staithes and Sleights) in regards to SIM services so we could fit the 4G modem antenna outside, run a cable inside to a normal router and away you go.  We fitted one at my mother’s house and she uses it for her Kindle Fire to make Whatsapp calls etc, works a treat.
Costing for this (all at cost):
To provide equipment £100 + VAT
Installation cost £100 + VAT
We have “3” network SIM cards in stock and happy to provide you one at cost for £15.00 + VAT per month for unlimited data.  We are quite confident the 3 network card should work but if it doesn’t, then you could try a Vodafone or EE card which are a little more expensive monthly.
We would provide a support helpdesk which is available 9am-5pm Mon-Fri and out of hours voice messaging service where the on call engineer picks up the voice message and calls back within 30 mins.
Let me know if this works for you and how you would like to proceed, or if you require any other information.
Martyn would be interested in using this as a model for other sheds around the country, if you think they might be interested?
Kind regards,
Julie Boswell
Operations Director
From: Graham S <>
Date: Friday, 29 May 2020 at 17:23
To: Julie Boswell | Signa Technologies Ltd <>
Cc: Brian Holliday <>, “” <>
Subject: RE: Moorsweb Contact Form
Dear Julie,
Good news.
I am happy to approve Staithes. Is there a way to test Littlebeck right down in the valley? Or doesn’t it need that?
On your last point we’d be very happy for the Shed to be a model of what can be done for other Sheds or any other organisation. Did you mean country or county?
We’d even put Tom in the picture smiling.
Looks like we might be able to work outside at Staithes soon and sit in our cars if its wet!
Many thanks,
Kind regards,
Dear Graham,
Great news.  Yes we can test the Littlebeck one on the same day.  We would test for signal strength before installing it all anyway and then invoice afterwards.  We may be able to get over next week if we can organise the equipment in time, if that suits you?
We were thinking country wide, obviously where we can get some sort of service to them.
All sounds very exciting and we look forward to Tom’s photoshoot ;o).
Kind regards,
Julie Boswell
Operations Director

Now, an invitation to contribute to crowdfunding a print edition of the e-book Big Boys Don’t Cry. 

See the post on the launch event for the mental health e-book for men. 60 real accounts in men’s own words. The book has the capability to lift the spirits a little by realising that others have trodden the path of feeling down and isolated but have come through in different ways

YOU can help crowdfund a print edition. See Fabian and Patrick’s email below.

Dear Family, Friends and Mental Health Champions,
We hope you are very well and managing OK at this unusual time.
As you will hopefully know, we have written a men’s mental health book, Big Boys Don’t Cry?, which aims to reduce the stigma around mental health and encourage more men to open up, not ‘man up’. We launched it last week and you can watch the event by clicking here. 
The book is a collection of 60 stories by men – and partners of men – who share their real lived experiences of mental health issues and give valuable advice for other men.
We have published an e-version of their book – available to buy here – but a number of people have asked us if there is a paperback version of the book.

The short answer is ‘no’, but with your help, there could be!

We have now launched a crowdfunding campaign on the website Kickstarter to try and raise funds to print 5,000 paperback copies of Big Boys Don’t Cry?.

Our challenge: to raise £5.5k in 55 days! You can make a pledge now in just a couple of minutes at and we have attached a simple guide for how to make a pledge on Kickstarter. Just a couple of pounds would really help! 

We are offering a few rewards as a ‘thank you’ for pledges to our crowdfunding campaign:
  • If you pledge a minimum of £5 you will receive a copy of the e-book in July if the crowdfunding campaign is successful. If it’s not, you will not be charged.
  • If you pledge a minimum of £15 – you will receive a copy of the e-book in July AND a signed, first edition paperback copy of Big Boys Don’t Cry? if the crowdfunding campaign is successful. If the fundraising target has not be reached by 23 July 2020, you will not be charged.
  • And if you pledge a minimum of £50 – you will receive a copy of the e-book, a signed first edition paperback copy of Big Boys Don’t Cry? AND we will include your name in the ‘credits’ section of the book, as a thank you for your generous support. As above, if the fundraising target has not be reached by 23 July 2020, you will not be charged.
Just to confirm: this is only a pledge and you will only be charged at the end of the crowdfunding campaign  (23 July 2020) and if the fundraising target of £5,415 has been reached. If it hasn’t been reached by this date, then none of the pledges will be used.
Thank you very much in advance for kindly considering supporting us and if you have any questions, please email us at
Warmest wishes,
Fabian and Patrick 
Big Boys Don’t Cry? authors




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