The Independent 2001

Tim Baber, 44. college librarian, Mudeford Beach, Dorset

The great thing about the huts on this beach is that you can live in them. I live in mine from March until November. For six years I lived here all winter as well but I got what they call cabin fever, so now I winter in a house with friends.
I came here as a child. My grandparents built the hut originally, in the Thirties - it was a way of having a cheap holiday. Now they're worth a fortune. One's just been sold for £75,000. People put notes on your window or under your door saying, "We'd like to buy your hut, money no object." They tend to be estate agents and solicitors, those sorts of people.
The hut's 12ft by 11ft. I've done it out to suit me, one man living a slightly eccentric lifestyle, a bit feral, outside the normal constraints of society. I've used pretty much what I can get my hands on from skips, tips and car-boot sales. The kitchen's got an old laboratory-bench sink in it, which is solid mahogany, and the cork floor tiles were ripped out from where I work.It's got an olde-worlde captain's cabin feel. But I've got a solar panel on the roof, which produces 50 watts, enough for a television.
"A few years ago I started publishing the Mudeford Sandbank News, and also the Hengistbury Head Times. The other hut owners buy them, as do visitors, it fills an information gap. There's a box outside the hut with the newspapers in it, and a pipe going into the ground into which people can deposit their pound coin. The circulation is about 2,000 at the moment. Ideally, I'd like to increase it to 10,000 copies and give up work altogether and just lie in the hut all day listening to the money tinkling in the pipe. It really is quite delightful here."

The Independent Magazine, 8th September 2001

Picture by : Dominick Tyler