ACADEMICS at Glasgow Caledonian University are to study the mental health benefits of the men’s sheds movement. They said: “Our main objective is to design mechanisms for sustainable community development by creating sheds that are financially and socially sustainable.” I see. Say what now?

I think the bottom line is that sheds are quite good. The men’s sheds movement has been around for some time. As far back as 2011, The Daily Telegraph reported that it was growing “across the UK, from the Lake District to south London”. Oh, that UK. Not the one we live in.

More recently, in a surprise development, The Guardian called for a women’s shed movement which, I guess, is because elderly men tinkering about on DIY projects perpetuates the imperialist patriarchy, ken?

Over the years, I myself – as distinct from yourself – have written several authoritative and comprehensive articles on the subject off the top of my head, with minimal research, and these have been widely welcomed, I assume.

For those out of the loop, men’s sheds are places where persons of the controversial male gender gather together to socialise over a bit of DIY. The idea is to stop folk getting lonely, the state towards which modern society pushes us with greater and greater force daily.

The meeting place doesn’t have to be a shed. It can be an office, garage, warehouse or even, in one case, a disused mortuary (talk about one foot in the grave). It’s a great idea: simple, effective and cheaper than psychiatry.

The DIY might put some chaps off. The movement’s various websites tend to show grizzled veterans doing tricky-looking things with lathes. Unfortunately, men who are good at DIY make the rest of us feel small and envious, the imperialist swine that they are.

I spend a lot of time on what I prefer to call BIY (botch-it-yourself), certainly enough to know that I’m terrible at practical construction or repairs and, on most occasions, would be better off getting a man in. If I were to build my own shed, I guarantee that, stepping back to admire it, I’d find I’d put the roof on the bottom.

Still, it might be possible to learn something in a men’s shed, assuming the top DIY man had not appropriated to himself the title of Chief Shedder and so a hierarchy had developed. I do not approve of hierarchies, on account of the fact that I’m generally found at the bottom of them.

To be unusually honest, I’m not much of a joiner-in either. This is because, during my time observing life on your planet, I have noticed that, in every group of at least six Earthlings, one will be an utterly bizarre character with syphilis of the personality.

It’s the same everywhere you go, from evening classes to busloads of passengers. Where I live, a council by-law forbids the bus from starting until the nutter is aboard. It’s the same with evening classes. I think it’s something to do with positive discrimination.

Another thing I’ve noticed during my sojourn on this planet is that most middle-aged Earthlings have few friends outwith their families. I’d put the average at one, perhaps rising to as many as two. Fortunately, not having any family, I have lots of different friends.

But, working from home in particular, I experience bizarrely long periods of aloneness in which my only conversation is with supermarket till jockeys : “Yes, I have my own bags. Do you want to come to the pictures with me?”

I don’t know if loneliness is worse for men. I do know that men tend not to ask or initiate anything. You don’t ask other men if they fancy a coffee. We are not as women. We certainly don’t go for meals or, indeed, to the pictures together.

As we get older, we even tend to eschew the pub, as Scottish men are incapable of having “a pint” and always end up blootered. By late middle age, our bladders and prostates can’t cope anyway, and we might as well stand at the urinal all night, nipping out now and again to sip our beer. And it has to be beer.

True, I have known men who, in the pub, have asked for a gin and tonic or a glass of chardonnay but, sensitive to social embarrassment, I have ended our friendship there and then. I say that since, fortunately, I’ve had the operation so can drink beer and micturate like a horse once more. But others aren’t so lucky.

Men: we don’t ask for help in DIY stores or for directions anywhere. We are men trapped in men’s bodies. It’s mental. So, here’s to the men’s shed movement. Here’s to The Grateful Shed.