Originally designed as a shelter to keep people above the deadly houses to be found on the floor of sub-tropical rainforests, today they take us back to a world of catapults and gobstoppers, and childhoods safe from the prying mania of modern parenting. Built from any old bits of crap found in hedges, floorboards from skips, salvaged driftwood or storm damaged trees, there is only one rule when it comes to construction. Make it large and strong enough to hold ten children while making it look small and weak enough to dissuade any adventurous adults from venturing up too high. Avoid at all costs buying new timber from the superstore. Tree houses should be flawed, beautiful, scruffy and unique.
From The Book of Idle Pleasures, ed Dan Kieran and Tom Hodgkinson (Ebury Press)
Illustration by Ged Wells