Monday, 31 May 2010


Quite a few years ago, (at least 20), when we first arrived at The Turrets, there was a mass of old foliage, dying trees, hedges like Hampton Court Maze, and a load of old rotting stuff which just had to go.

Back then, we'd shove it all on the churchyard bonfire and alienate the rest of the parish with wreaths of smoke which could be seen from Bill's Mother's, but it became clear that we also needed a bit of goodness to plough back in the soil.

So we invested in a garden luxury; a Black and Decker shredder. Now this seems a very ordinary thing to do now, but back then, it was the cutting edge (ha ha - my little joke...), of gardening prowess, and it wasn't that cheap at about £125.00. After all, money doesn't grow on trees, especially if you're planning to shred them at some stage!

But this dear machine gets lugged out after every discussion which goes something like this...

Mrs S. "Are we (you) going to do something about the Berberis this weekend"?

Scrobs. "Er yes, good idea...".

Mrs S. "Well, I reckon we should cut it right down this time, and give it a chance to get some new growth further down".

Scrobs. "Er yes, I think you're right, it is making the hall a bit gloomy...".

Mrs S. "Very gloomy in fact, and it's smothering the rest of the shrubs out there, so can we give it a severe haircut"?

Scrobs. "Er, yes, fine. I'll do it, and I'm going to burn the stuff in the churchyard, it's far too much to chuck in the bin..."!

(several minutes later)...

Mrs S. "There's quite a lot of it isn't there, why don't we 'munch' it"?

Scrobs. "Good idea, I was just thinking the same thing...".

Now this is the crux of the situation. I was really thinking the same thing, and, every single time we chop anything down, the discussion goes the same way!

And I always end up scrabbling around on my hands and knees in the shed to hoik out 'The Muncher'!

When Black and Decker designed the thing, they just didn't finish the job properly, although, it actually does much more than it seems - once you realise that it isn't all plain sailing. It has three unscrewable legs, which are a bit devilish to do up each time. If you leave them in place, you need about half an acre of floor space as they can always trip people up in the next village.

And when there's a bit too much in the barrel, it begins to moan a bit, and then suddenly stop, which means a quick yank on the plug stops the eight million volts being expended on either the machine, or me, or anyone else nearby... I nearly ruined it the first day we had it, when I tried to shred some old newspaper, and it just didn't work, so it does really have a mind of its own.

When it does clog up, you have to undo a piddling little screw the size of a fingernail, and then watch in wonderment as all the detritus just tumbles out, and smells hot and sappy. Later editions had a proper turnbuckle, but not ours...

But, after all the sodding about, the intricate cable connection, the blade sharpening, (great fun that - sparks all over the place), the collection of barrowloads of small chips, it really does do the job, and while it is old, a bit slow, grunts several times with the effort, I commend the dear thing to everyone who wants to get several loads of damn good free mulch for just about any garden use you can think of. Over the years, it's paid for itself time and time again!


Blue Eyes said...

Very eco-friendly too!

Anonymous said...

I pray Mr HG doesn't see this. He saves EVERYTHING and I throw it away secretly; I've just thrown away four binbags of ash and kitchen refuse he was discreetly mulching at the bottom of the garden. Honestly, at the hourly rate he'd charge it's cheaper to buy organic fertiliser, and that comes free of those crawly things mulching attracts.

rvi said...

Good lad. You just get on with it while Mrs rvi and I go walkabout to far away places (sans laptop and email distractions) for the next week or two. See you all when we get back. Bye for now.

Tuscan Tony said...

Interesting feedback on this beast: I have been brooding fro some time about investing in a petrol-driven one, which is currently on offer in the local Obi (German B&Q equivalent now found in Italy).

I will take the plunge I think, and report back.

Scrobs... said...

It is Blues!

Chips with everything! ;0)

Scrobs... said...

Nice to hear from you H'ers...

Be asured that your secret is safe with me!

Interested to hear about the ash though, great stuff for feeding the plants!

Scrobs... said...


Have a good break, and return refreshed - or at least dampened down perhaps?

Kind regards to Mrs Reevers too!

Scrobs... said...

Tuscs, the petrol one is far more versatile, as you can take it anywhere of course!

I've heard good reports from owners of these - ours is electric, and is only used a few times a year, which doesn't mean that the shed gets a good swear-in when I have to get all the kit together - but once it's all done, there is an odd sense of well being, plus a peculiar ache where the stuff has to be pushed down inside on occasions...

I'm sure your idea will work!

hatfield girl said...

TT, Can you solve a dispute? I argue that OBI is the usual mispronunciation that is used in Italian advertising, and should be read as 'Hobby'.

Mr HG is for an acronym of German origin (continued incompetence in German, despite best efforts, forbids an essay in what the compound noun might be).

I hate OBI, while he spends ages slavering over daft machines while I tell him to get round to the ColDiretti and buy a serious machine. And a man to work it who has been doing that kind of thing since he left school.

Tuscan Tony said...

@HG -

Doh! I'd never noticed that clever "hobby" word interplay (for the non Italian dwellers here, the number of Anglo words is shooting up exponentially - what was a passatempo is now a "hobby" here).

I pronounce it as in "Obi wan Kenobi", but I may be in the minority. F'rinstance there's a motorway exit a few miles from here called "Capannori" which I insist rhymes with "Jackanory" (it should be cap-ann-orry"). The good news is that I have persuaded a number of Italian friends of the rightness of my approach.

I am off to OBI in an hour, sad sack that I am, and will ask the manager.