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!