City men have a shed
WAKING up one morning with no movement in his body led Matt Mason from his working life in Adelaide to starting a Men's Shed in Warwick.
"We went out dancing one Saturday night and I woke up on Sunday morning and I couldn't move," Mr Mason said.
He said he was bed ridden for three months with doctors unable to diagnose the problem.
"I had an MRI but nobody could understand what was wrong," he said.
Eventually Mr Mason learned it was a birth defect or a hereditary condition in his spine and there was nothing to be done.
But he persevered, eventually returning to his active lifestyle including one his favourite pastimes - dancing - despite still having pins and needles permanently running down one leg from his knee to his toe.
But it was time to give up his seven day working week as a self-employed lawn-mowing contractor.
Twelve months ago he and wife Gwen retired to Warwick where Mr Mason set about joining a Men's Shed, only to discover there wasn't one operating in the Rose City.
So he decided to take up the task of starting one with the first session last Monday.
"It's primarily for men who don't talk to each other about things like prostate, deafness, retiring, separation and divorce," he said.
"It has been reasonably positive, I got two things from the first day - they don't want to sit around talking and they want to be doing something practical."
While only in the early stages, and yet to find a permanent home, Mr Mason said he hoped to eventually have a range of activities and the shed open three days a week.
"In Boonah they have a chess set, television, books and puzzles. They have their urn with coffee and there is one guy that just goes there and reads the paper and that's all he does," he said.
"It's better than sitting at home alone in front of the idiot box."
The Australian Men's Shed Association (AMSA) started in 2007 with the aim of supporting comfortable environments for men who had retired.
It allowed men who were used to living busy active lives to continue to part-take in practical and social activities after retirement and gave them a safe place to talk about difficult issues.
Since then Men's Sheds have been popping up all over the country.
"If I have it going really well by Christmas, I'll be happy," Mr Mason said.
Mr Mason said for immediate future, the shed was based in the hall of the Presbyterian Church but it was not affiliated with any religion.
He said all men were welcome to turn up on Mondays, from 10am-12pm, with $2 for tea and coffee.