Q: WHEN is a shed not a shed? A: When it’s a cocktail bar.

A cocktail bar has beaten hundreds of entries - including a bra-fitting boutique and a fairytale castle - to win Shed Of The Year.

Social media influencer Danielle Zarb-Cousin’s 1970s-inspired cocktail bar was chosen over 331 entries - the highest number the annual competition has seen. Named the Creme de Menthe, the shed is painted mint green with a retro bar, bright orange furnishings, and seating.

I am not deriding Danielle’s creation in any way - it’s colourful and welcoming - but it’s not a shed in the real sense of the word.

The garden sheds I know and love - PROPER sheds - are dusty places crammed full of plants pots, garden tools, cans of oil, balls of string, all manner of useful things. There might be a lawn mower in a corner and bundles of canes stacked to one side.

There’s also a fair few cobwebs too, which are a trademark of a proper shed. Our shed has cobwebs that hang across the window like hammocks, home to spiders of varying size, including one beast the diameter of a coffee mug.

That’s what a garden shed should look like. Give me a real shed any day, with its special shed smell that you can’t put your finger on. It shouldn’t have bi-fold doors, window blinds or stripped floorboards. It shouldn’t be painted with Farrow & Ball’s best and adorned with fairy lights.

There are few places more relaxing than a shed, so I can understand why people are turning them into bars, spas, summerhouses and offices, But by doing that, they are no longer sheds.

The competition, organised by garden wood treatment firm Cuprinol, does have a category for workshop, but the finalist’s entry looks like a mini version of an architect-designed masterpiece from Grand Designs. Another finalist’s entry looks more like an orangery, with chandelier-like lighting.

Danielle’s winning shed has a glasses cabinet, a wine rack, potted palms, a rug and a couple of armchairs with fancy cushions.

These twee creations - the words ‘boutique’ and sheds shouldn’t be used in the same sentence - are not sheds as generations have known them, and which thankfully still grace many an allotment across the country. They are not a hub of muddy toil where gardeners down tools and where small feats of engineering take place as people tinker into the night, taking apart motorbikes or repairing cycles or mowers.

A couple of years ago my neighbour took me into her late husband’s shed. It was filled with tools of which I’d never seen the like. Little wooden drawers lining the walls contained enough nuts, bolts and washers to fill B&Q. Laden with ratchets and spanners, the work bench wouldn’t have looked out of place in an LNER repair shed. Despite it not having been used for years, it’s special ‘shed’ atmosphere held strong.

Once upon a time sheds were simply sheds. Some may have a wood-shaving-covered bench strewn with hand tools or even a small stove to brew up after hoeing your cabbages.

I’d like to see a special category in next year’s contest simply entitled ‘shed’, which looks as workaday sheds that have not been tarted up or titivated. “Just an ordinary garden shed,” as Arthur ‘two sheds’ Jackson said in the famous Monty Python sketch of that name.

Sheds that are actually likely to have a shelf boasting at least one of Cuprinol’s products - because I doubt that applies to any of this year’s entrants.