Shed Talks is a good humoured show about mental health and coping with life – what happens when things go wrong, and what you can do to get better and stay well.

Shed Talks is hosted by Jeremy Thomas – a funny guy with experience of serious mental illness, and an advocate of good mental health. Jeremy is going to be in conversation with public figures drawn from the world of Film, TV, Music, Books, Crime, Gardening, and Business. Interesting people who have achieved something in their lives but who also have had direct or indirect experience of poor mental ill health.

By sharing their inside stories with Jeremy, guests will also reflect on personal survival techniques, demonstrating how they recovered from poor mental health and how they now stay sane.

Jeremy Thomas worked in the music business for 22 years during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.  He worked with artists such as John Williams, Al Green, Camel, Caravan, U2, The Levellers, James Brown and Rupert Hine to name a few. He wrote his first novel “Taking Leave’ in 2007, a former BBC Radio 5 ‘Book of the Month”, going on to co-produce the Emmy Award winning BBC documentary ‘Stephen Fry – The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive’ and co-write the popular- A-Z Guide to Good Mental Health with Dr Tony Hughes. His last novel was the crime thriller ‘The Santa Monica Suicide Club’ published in 2016.

Jeremy is now a leading speaker to schools and businesses, delivering talks on “How to Stay Sane in an Insane World’’.  An authentic, brutally honest and often humorous talk which draws on his own battle with bipolar disorder and addiction, providing coping skills and strategies based around a mental health tool kit.


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Jeremy Thomas Now: ‘Fearless Leader of Shed Talks’


Here are some images through the dark ages…

Below are useful websites for those affected by some of the mental health illnesses that will be discussed in the shows

Narcotics Anonymous

NA is a non-profit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem.

Alcoholics Anonymous

AA is a fellowship of men and women who help others to recover from alcoholism.

NHS Alcohol Support

Realising you have a problem with alcohol is the first step to getting better, but it’s often the hardest one.


The British Association of Anger Management

Attending an Anger Management is the first step towards a healthier happier life.


Mind, the mental health charity, is here to make sure no one has to face a mental health problem alone.



Samaritans works to make sure there’s always someone there for anyone who needs someone.

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide

Meeting the needs and break the isolation of those bereaved by the suicide of a close relative or friend.

Making Love to Mother Earth

Kew GardensMy paternal grandfather was called Harry Higgot Thomas. Until  recently, I thought he had been a prolific author of gardening books and the editor of the Daily Telegraph gardening section. A chance search on Google, yielded the following rather groovy tribute on his retirement as President of Kew Gardens. Any man who held that job and wrote books called Making Love to Mother Earth is a top man. Thank goodness, he had the good sense not continue working in a bank…


Our President for 1953-54 was born on July 2nd, 1876. His father Owen Thomas was successively Head Gardener to Sir Robert Peel, Drayton Manor, Staffs.; the Duke of Devonshire, Chatsworth, Derbyshire; and Queen Victoria, Windsor Castle, and consequently one can well imagine that coming from such good gardening stock Mr. Thomas in his early days must have been imbued with the love of horticulture. In actual fact, upon leaving school he preferred to enter a bank, but fortunately both for Kew and for the gardening profession as a whole, he found the work so uncongenial that he gave this up after a few months and started gardening in the Royal Gardens, Windsor. After several years there he crossed to France and served a further period of training in Baron de Rothschild’s gardens at Ferrieres-en-Brie, near Paris, and at Cannes on the French Riviera. He then applied to come to Kew and was successful in gaining admittance in April, 1897. He did very well both in his practical gardening and also in lectures receiving the highest awards in Economic Botany, and Geographical Botany, whilst he tied for first place in the British Botany Club with a collection of some 658 specimens. Mr. Thomas apparently took an active part in sport as well as work and was captain of the cricket team in addition to supporting other branches of the students’ activities. On leaving Kew our President went to Veitch’s Nursery at Chelsea, and at a later date returned to Windsor as foreman in the Royal Gardens. Throughout these years he had become interested in journalism and had laid the foundation of his future career by becoming a frequent contributor to various gardening papers and magazines. So successful was he in this respect that in 1900 he was offered the post of sub-editor of ” The Garden” and then started his career as a journalist. ” The Garden ” was then edited by Gertrude Jekyll and E. T. Cook, and between his day-to-day duties the President started writing one or two gardening books which eventually led to his appointment as editor of ” Popular Gardening,” then called ” The Gardener,” in 1907 (a position which he held for over 40 years until the date of his retirement). He was then becoming well known as an author and was asked to become gardening correspondent of the ” Morning Post ” in 1913, and he remained associated with this paper until 1930 when it was merged in the ” Daily Telegraph.” He still continued as gardening correspondent of the “Daily Telegraph ” until he retired in 1953. The President has probably written more gardening books than any other old Kewite, including many well known works such as ” Making Love to Mother Earth,” “The Ideal Garden” and “The Popular Encyclopaedia of Gardening.” In January, 1949, he was awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour by the Royal Horticultural Society, and it is very pleasing to record that he followed in the footsteps of his father in this respect in that Mr. Owen Thomas was one of the original members awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour. Blessed with a quiet and kindly disposition and a good sense of humour, all will wish our President continued good health in his retirement so that horticultural circles may still benefit from the vast experience of knowledge he has gained and which he is ever ready to impart to others.

Karen Cowan

Karen Cowan grew up in Tarporley Cheshire and trained to be a psychologist in her early 30’s, following the death of her mother, who had experienced significant psychiatric illness including alcoholism.  Karen completed her training at City University and her practice, whilst largely CBT based, has a significant systemic element.

Karen CowanPrior to training as a psychologist Karen had a number of jobs including; modelling, working in film production and, prior to training as a psychologist, setting up her own public relations business following a stint in publicity at a local Oxford theatre.

During the course of her career Karen has largely worked for Oxford Health Care Trust as well as time working with the Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre. Karen has been instrumental in setting up the MIND CBT group programme.

Karen tends to specialise particularly in areas around childhood trauma and brief therapy but her professional interests are wide ranging.

Karen married at a young age at 19, was widowed early in 2016 and has four children and four grandchildren.  She divides her time between London and Oxfordshire.  Her interests include; reading, films, music, trains, the National Trust and friends. Karen is passionate about the role of psychology within society as a whole.



Tim Clark OBE

Book – Madame Bovary, anything by Solzhenitsyn
TV – The Mayor of Casterbridge
Music – Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, The Eagles, Neil Young
Gardening – I love planning gardens
Hobbies/Exercise – Reading, Walking, Travel
Pet – Buddy the Labrador

Charlie Mortimer

Books – Fear and Loathing in la Vegas – Hunter S Thompson
Films – All the Carry on Series, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Music – Elvis, Grieg’s First Piano Concerto
TV – The Antiques Roadshow, Fawlty Towers, Sweeney
Gardening – doesn’t have a garden – but collects orchids from supermarkets.
Hobbies/Exercise – Walks 5 miles a day every afternoon with Tim

Roma Hooper OBE

 Books – On Walden pond – Henry David Thoreau, The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey
TV – Michael Palin, Poirot
Film – Love Actually – 39 Steps, Charade
Music – Simon and Garfunkel, Fleetwood Mac, Eva Cassidy
Gardening – Gardening at home with the Grandchildren, vegetable patch
Exercise – walking the dog
Hobbies – Fly Fishing

Mike Fisher

Film – The Matrix, The Garden State, The Green Book,  The Green Mile

Book – The Glass Bead Game

Music – Massive Attack, Passenger

Karen Cowan

Books – Simone de Beauvoir – The Second Sex,  Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart and Who they Was – Gabriel Krauze. 

Film – Paris, Texas, Wild at Heart, Pulp Fiction

Music – Allman Brothers ‘I was born a rambling man’,  ’Shout’ Lulu. ‘Everybody Hurts’, REM, Blondie.

Gardening – Have lovely garden luckily for me and delighted that granddaughter does things in it to make it lovely but not great gardener.  Had a garden as a child in part of our garden and nothing would grow. 

Exercise / Hobbies – Love trains though and dream to go on a long train journey with grandchildren.  Love crosswords as a comfort to lose oneself in.  

Pet / Best Friends – have a dog – by default – daughter and granddaughter wanted it.  Trouble is you don’t want a pet and then you start loving the pet and you are in danger of losing something else!

Friendships – lots of lovely friendships.

Dick Moore

Lifejackets – Family, friends, the Charlie Waller Trust

Film – Love Actually, Forrest Gump, Dances with Wolves, Dead Poets Society

Book – Rules for Old Men Waiting (Peter Pouncey)

TV – Ken Burns’ documentary: ‘The American Civil War’

Music – Suo Gan, Ashokan Farewell, Genesis (early)

Gardening – Absolutely not!

Exercise / Hobbies – Fly fishing, sport (watching), lurching around Wimbledon Common, my ebike, Gallipoli campaign, the American Civil War, Fulham FC

Pet / Best Friends – English Setters Mango and Myrtle