Sunday 25 December 2011

Xmonius cahke repice...

Christmas Cake Ingredients:

1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 lb flour
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
4 large eggs
5 oz Nuts
1 bottle of Vodka
2 cups of dried fruit

Sample the vodka to check quality.
Take a large bowl check the vodka again.
To be sure it is the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.
Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.
At this point it's best to make sure the vodka is shtill OK.
Try another cup, just in case turn off the mixerer.
Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
Pick fruit off floor.
Mix on the turner.
If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers pry it loose with a sdrewscriver.
Sample the vodka to check for tonsisticity.
Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Who giveshz a shit.
Check the vodka.
Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table.
Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
Greash the oven and pee in the fridge.
Turn the cake tin 350 degrees and try not to fall over.
Don't forget to beat off the turner.
Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the vodka and kick the cat.
Fall into bed.


h/t Digger Dave...

Saturday 17 December 2011

Reindeer saves the day...

You just have to love this song about how a very special reindeer took over from Rudolph!

It takes a second to load, but I reckon it should be this year's Christmas Number One, and win the Max Factor (or whatever it's called)!

Turn the sound up loud...

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Friday 9 December 2011

Circular masterpiece...

One of my partners has an eclectic but varied knowledge of all types of music, from Carl Orff to Clapton, Delius to Deep Purple, Albinoni to Albert Lee, Beethoven to Bananarama, Zadok to Zombies (That’s enough comparisons - Ed), and in his constant quest for more esoteric involvement in musical philosophy, harmonious chronology and form, he strives diligently to search for, and eventually discover, the higher plateaus of melodic appreciation.

However, I will never be able to forget his recent triumphant exclamation of pure joy, when this masterpiece appeared on his Mac screen…

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Grimble cheer...

Pubs in Tunbridge Wells are learning a few things from supermarkets...

Wednesday 30 November 2011


How many black labradors does it take to change a light bulb?



H/T Hamstergbert

Friday 18 November 2011

Probably the best ad I've seen in ages...

Absolutely brilliant!

Just watch this to the end, and have the sound on!

Thursday 10 November 2011

Travel Tips No 5. 'Buchan's Hole', a village to linger in, then move on...

Buchan's Hole is possibly the location where the famous 'Thirty-nine Steps' story, was conceived. But there the similarity ends, as there are no steps to speak of, only steep slopes, and the title 'The Thirty-nine Slopes' just doesn't have the same ring to it does it!

BH (as it is called by a small local person), is right on the Kent coast, some say it should actually be just a hundred yards off the coast, and that would solve the problem, but that would be unfair to the population of eighty-seven, and the various out-buildings.

The estate of the Mannerings family, a well known gusset-mangler who moved to the place after the unpleasantness in Droitwich, overlooks the bay from a hill to the south. There, the brooding shadow cast by the various buildings, reminds the residents below of the main reason for the wealth, and the poverty, of the place. The BH local people manage to eke out a living by delivering pizzas, washing cars, and selling a few paltry herbs and spices, and their only pleasure is a monthly game of 'Lynch-the-bankers', which well may become an Olympic sport in years to come. (The Italians will well remember this and undoubtedly become proficient and excellent at the pastime. They will come second to England).

Theophilus Bartholemew Mannerings allowed the railway to go through his land to the village in 1831. He was paid a pittance of several million pounds, a small sum for the inconvenience we are assured, and from then on, became a benefactor to many ladies on the area, giving freely, and expecting very little in return, other than a signed affidavit denying that anything untoward ever happened.

The yelps and shrieks which come from the former artificial insemination building, now refurbished as a 'Grannex', for an errant sister of one of the family, are now down to the frequent visitations of a suave gentleman in a tweed cap, and string-backed gloves, which are used to steer his vintage Jaguar through the country lanes leading to the estate, and not the commercial increasement of the farm animals, although the process is roughly the same.

The railway was built as a branch line, but was perceived as more of a bough line, possibly only a twig line, but indeed became so insignificant, that this leaf-vein line was never even noticed by Dr Beeching as it was so faint on his map, and thus survived the cull.

The town planners, were bent on getting the railway to the place, and did absolutely nothing to assist the thriving town centre in the process. They were bent over desks, even just bent, but the new track was laid before you could bat an eyelid, and even the local building supplier, Enoch Sagtrouser, (grandfather of the current incumbent, Elias), began to rub his hands, and also his other various extremities, at the thought of all that income from such a big building job.

The utter disgrace associated with the decision by the elders of BH are graphically demonstrated here!

Saturday 5 November 2011


This is nice isn't it...?

Obit by popular request...

An Obituary printed in the London Times...Absolutely brilliant!

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with
us for many years.

No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you
can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when possibly well-intentioned but
overbearing regulations were set in place.

Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;

I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I'm A Victim

Saturday 29 October 2011

The saga of the purring poo pump...

'The Turrets' has it's own working sewage treatment plant.

There, I've said it!

Years ago, our drains went everywhere, vaguely downhill through the graves next door, under sheds, water towers and trees, until they arrived in the woods far away and therefrom God knows where. It was a system that worked up to a point.

That point was reached when they didn't arrive in the woods, because there was a serious blockage caused halfway down this Cresta Run of detritus, well, half a ton of concrete lobbed in from a great height by an unpleasant neighbour usually has that effect, so something had to be done.

After a bit of wrangling, and a little nudge from the insurers, the Environment Agency, the council (oh yes, they had to be involved; regulations you see), and several friendly neighbours further down the pipe, 'The Turrets' became blessed with a brand new state-of-the-art bit of kit, which deals with everything you can throw at it. (I didn't say chuck at it, there are ladies present...!)

But it doesn't always work because there are two pumps in it to carry out various turdal duties, and pumps don't last for ever, (unlike Puff the Magic Dragon), and we had to get a new system PDQ. Even some of the long-buried people next door were beginning to complain, and there was a rumour of a new 'Corpse Preservation Society' being formed...

(I'm only telling you all this, because BP occasionally reads my drivel, and will wonder what I was doing on Friday, while he and BP2 were slogging their way down to Exeter and back, and couldn't get me on the phone... But I digress!)

Shawn arrived after a month of disarray. We like him, he's a great bloke, and dedicated to friendly, good service. He had come to fit the new kit, which is actually a nifty little air pump, which delivers a stream of air to the system to create the microbic environment, and a good time is had by all. There was a little work to do before hand, and Scrobs' back was suitably hurt in several places by digging a four ft deep hole, which we didn't need, but the pump went on like a dream, and began to hum and purr like a goodun.

That's until, Shawn had just gone, and Scrobs had moved the new pump ever so slightly.

S*** B***** F*** it! It was just unbelievable.

Cellphone out, and a conversation started like this...

"Hi Shawn, er... (gulp) bit of a problem, the pump's stopped working for some reason, ha ha ha..."

"Oh, er... is the plug in the garden wall mate?" (he always calls everyone mate, even his wife, which is rather nice).

"Yup, firmly in place!"

"Could be a fuse then mate, try another one, or no, 'ang on, it might have tripped, but you won't know what to do about that... Try a new fuse, and call me back!"

(F*** off, nobody tells me that 'I won't know what to do...!)

"Fine, I'll do that; buzz you back!"

Scrobs runs to shed, to look for fuses; bugger, they're not there, of course, they're inside the house, have to take big Tuscan Tony style boots off, mud everywhere...

A few minutes later, it starts to rain.

Thinking at some stage between the shed and the boot-remover, and realising that Mrs S was due back in half an hour, and she'd be livid if the job hadn't been finished, Scrobs said to Scrobs 'Sod the fuse, I'm going to take the bloody thing apart myself...!'

Out with the screwdriver. Four screws. Panel off. Wrong bit to look at.


Four more screws. Right panel. Getting quite wet from increasing rain. Nothing untoward.


Twenty minutes to Mrs S's arrival...oh hellfire...cellphone...

"Shawn, all panels are off, what next?"

"Can you see the diaphragm each side?"

"Yup, both there."

"If it's raining, you could take it all inside and do this...!"

"Good idea, buzz you back" Escapes to shed...

Screw missing on next panel to come off, assume never there. Start to have bits of pump all over work bench, and getting confused. Peer inside workings and after several seconds, see one tiny glimpse of shiny metal, which shouldn't be there, in a logical sense, because I shouldn't be able to see it if the kit's working properly.

Four more screws.

Aaaaaah, got you you little sod! The retaining nut had come adrift, and the diaphragm was not phragming at all, just sulking without it's nut! A nutless, washerless sulk actually!

Nut turns out to be the wrong size, and had just slipped onto a tiny bit of thread when refitted for the few minutes it had worked, until it stopped, after it had slipped off again.

Bugger, and fifteen minutes to go before the Ferrari Punto squeals into the drive...

"Shawn, found the nut, it's the wrong size, I'll find another one!"

"OK mate, sounds like the problem! Funny that, when I'd put it all together last night, it was getting dark, and afterwards I found two small screws left over...!"

Now he tells me! Can't find a nut to fit, and up-end a huge metal box with several thousand assorted bits to find one, eventually grabbing one and it fits. On like a dream, start to reassemble everything, with ears cocked for returning wife.

Out to the tank again, and plug in. Nothing happens. Cellphone out.

"Shawn, all back to normal, but not going yet, any ideas?"

"Take the panels off, and I'll talk you through it!"

Four screws, then three more, then panic, then small shriek.

"Panel's off Shawn!"

"See the white cross piece? Nudge it with a screwdriver."

Nudge several times, well give it a big shove, but nothing. Keep nudging, and plug in again. Nothing.

"Could be a fuse now Shawn...?!

"Yup, do that!"

New fuse, panels all back on, stops raining, no sign of Mrs S yet. Switch on...


"Yhaaaaaah, all away again Shawn!"

"You've cracked it mate, great stuff, see you soon!"

Shawn's coming back next week, to alter the outflow, and I've got to have built a cover for the pump, as it needs to be kept nice and dry. Now that'll be a doddle, after becoming a credited drainage engineer, with two hour's acute experience and a lifetime's knowledge of various nuts and bolts behind me...

Tuesday 25 October 2011

FFS Cameron, pull your f*****g finger out...

Just today, I had a long-awaited meeting with three accomplished and professional property people. It had taken me three weeks to get these people together.

It was a sparse lunch, yeah, a couple of tinctures, but the theme was still exasperation, and severe angst at the failure of this blasted government with their lackey banks, to bring it on.

We discussed seven schemes. Seven big building projects, ranging from, roughly - £6m to £15 million pounds.

Each one, when costed, appraised and verified, (RICS standards I might add) showed a minimal profit for us, but, 10% of fees going to other starving businesses, like architects, engineers, builders etc. There was a huge element of 'funding' expectation (i.e. what the banks will rake in for their ludicrous 'risk'), but this stupid administration are getting as bad as the last lot. You'd expect a nulabour crowd to be incompetent and clueless where commercial expertise is required, but the piddling about we're coping with right now is insufferable.

That 10% going to others, (forget the banks' take, they'll stuff you anyway) therefore amounts to about £7,000,000 pounds, which will be used up by waiting, desperate, consultants, builders, sub-contractors etc. The figures are all calculated correctly, and they meet normal financial requirements for funding. There would also be approximately 425 jobs created from our schemes.

From now on in, we are forced to 'negotiate' with councils for planning permission. We're not digging out green belt land, despoiling the parks etc, we're commercial people, making jobs in business areas etc. Councils prefer to prevaricate for months, while the meter clocks up thousands of pounds in interest (banks again), and of course, they might well charge for their 'advice'. It's an utter disgrace that these little twerps can hold so much business to ransom, sit on their hands, and try to apply an obscure policy which is beyond his/her understanding, or they go on paternity leave.

So Scrobs is feeling a bit let down by Cameron and his bunch of wandering people. At this rate, he'll be asking the Hon Prospective Member for UKIP a few serious questions, like, 'If you get in, how will you look after your own country first...?'

Friday 21 October 2011

The Scrobs' Anniversary...

Today Mrs Scrobs and I are celebrating our 39th wedding anniversary!

Apparently, it known as 'The Lace Anniversary', so, to prove that romance is indeed not dead, we're giving each other a pair for our walking boots and going for a picnic with JRT on The Firehills near Fairlight...

The pic marks the spot where the it all started back in 1972!

Saturday 15 October 2011

Petty France ha ha ha...


Dear Sirs,

I'm in the process of renewing my passport, and still cannot believe this.

How is it that Sky Television has my address and telephone number and knows that I bought a bleeding satellite dish from them back in 1977, and yet, the Government is still asking me where I was bloody born and on what date.

For goodness sake, do you guys do this by hand? My birth date you have on my pension book, and it is on all the income tax forms I've filed for the past 30 years. It is on my National Health card, my driving licence, my car insurance, on the last eight damn passports I've had, on all those stupid customs declaration forms I've had to fill out before being allowed off the plane over the last 30 years, and all those insufferable census forms.

Would somebody please take note, once and for all, that my mother's name is Mary Anne, my father's name is Robert and I'd be abso-fucking-lutely astounded if that ever changed between now and when I die!

I apologise, I'm really pissed off this morning. Between you an' me, I've had enough of this bullshit! You send the application to my house, then you ask me for my address!

What is going on? Do you have a gang of Neanderthal arseholes workin' there? Look at my damn picture. I just want to go and park my arse on some sandy beach somewhere. And would someone please tell me, why would you give a shit whether I plan on visiting a farm in the next 15 days? If I ever got the urge to do something weird to a chicken or a goat, believe you me, you'd be the last people I'd want to tell!

Well, I have to go now, 'cause I have to go to the other end of the poxy city to get another copy of my birth certificate, to the tune of £30. Would it be so complicated to have all the services in the same spot to assist in the issuance of a new passport the same day?? Nooooo, that'd be too damn easy and maybe makes sense. You'd rather have us running all over the place like chickens with our heads cut off, then have to find some arsehole to confirm that it's really me on the damn picture - you know, the one where we're not allowed to smile?! (bureaucratic morons) Hey, do you know why we couldn't smile if we wanted to? Because we're totally pissed off!


An Irate Citizen.

P.S. Remember what I said above about the picture and getting someone to confirm that it's me? Well, my family has been in this country since 1776. I have served in the military for something over 30 years and have had full security clearances over 25 of those years enabling me to undertake highly secretive missions all over the world.

However, I have to get someone 'important' to verify who I am - you know, someone like my doctor WHO WAS BORN AND RAISED SOMEPLACE I NEVER HEARD OF!


from You Sure The Hell Should Know Who.

Wednesday 5 October 2011

A party in Surrey and a song in Worcester Cathedral...

Sorry to learn that David Bedford has died (obit here)

Here's a re-run of a post from a couple of years ago.

I only recently re-discovered this, while tinkering about looking for new stuff to record.

I bought the original 33rpm record soon after I saw a program by David Bedford on TV, and found that it was a quadraphonic version, which left me somewhat bemused as there were only six 'speakers' in the Turrets about then, and four of them were me and the family.

This guitar solo, which was recorded in Worcester Cathedral, just rings so many more bells, especially at a point about 55 seconds in, when the kit he was using produced a note 25 seconds long, and still creates rear-neck-hair-stand-upment... There's one hell of an ending too, if you're minded to hear the whole piece.

It is probably the most self indulgent bit of playing I've heard in a long time, and combines my two favourite instruments to perfection!

And also this is sad news here too!

I'd first heard of Bert Jansch and John Renbourn at a memorable party in Coulsdon years ago.

I must have stayed pretty sober, because I can remember another chum there, extolling the virtues of this great guitarist, and I went and ordered the record.

It is memorable to me, as it was the first bit of music I ever played the future Mrs S, on the first ever occasion that she visited the Senior Turrets...

RIP - another one; sad all this...

Friday 30 September 2011

Bognor b******d...

Ernest Sewell Marionettes

Wallis Arthur came to Bognor in 1900 and subsequently turned the coal yard at the sea end of Lennox Street into the "Olympic Gardens" after neatly boarding it in and roofing it with canvas.

He and his business partner Paul Hill were presenting Pierrots at other seaside towns. Unfortunately he lost money in his first three seasons until he joined the programme himself and helped to make his first profit.

Members of his companies were interchanged and consequently the people of Bognor saw many young performers on their way to fame; Gillie Potter, Ernest Sewell and his marionettes, Milton Hayes with his usual monologues such as “The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God”, and many others.

One day a short good looking youth in a rather shabby blue suit and a straw hat came to see him. He wanted to be a Pierrot and appeared extremely nervous, pressing his light cane into the sand causing it to flick up into the air and then adeptly catching it.

Wallis Arthur who had always had such a good judgement was sadly lacking it that day for he told him that he needed a light comedian – not a low one.

So the young man went to America and the Cinema gained what Bognor had lost, for the man who wasn’t good enough to get a job in Bognor was Charlie Chaplin.

Friday 23 September 2011

I'll get my coat...

Elias Sagtrouser, Meccano and Simeon O'Blene were leaning up against the bar of the 'The Eight Bells' the other day, and while Meccano guzzled at some yellow drink with a chunk of lime stuck in the top, scoffed pork scratchings and incessantly babbled to some idiot on his mobile, Elias leaned across to me with a twinkle in his eye and told me what had happened that morning.

Three rogueish 'painters', who always paid cash, were doing a lash-up job locally, (for cash only again) and would call by first thing in the morning, to collect several gallons of the cheapest paint that Elias sold, white, and in big drums. Sometimes they even bought a paint brush, but not very often...

Elias is a lovely man; a stalwart to the construction business in times when pompous politicians and bankers waste precious resources, and cause great misery to a whole generation of good builders. However, times are tough, and Mr Sagtrouser will sell to anyone, as long as they pay.

Dave Ferret, Wayne Haywain, T-jay Noggis, and one of their brood, were picking up their paint for the day, and paid Meccano in the shop. Meccano is not very bright, in fact, he's as thick as two short planks, and while taking their money, he was also gibbering on his mobile phone to one of his squawking girlfriends, and didn't notice that he'd been given a fiver short.

Nevertheless, T-Jay, who was driving, decided to take the easy way out, rushed out to the waiting car, threw the paint containers in the back seat and drive out of the yard at some speed.

But he didn't see Mr Sandy Bletherington-Carstairs driving carefully into the yard, to buy a few nails for the barge boards on the stables...

Saturday 17 September 2011

Proper brickwork...

When I was staying at ED's place a few weeks ago, I had an hour to spare before the phones would start to ring, and I took a stroll round Crystal Palace, primarily to shake off the dust after a multitude of tinctures the previous night.

In the road which goes up to the east of the park, there are some beautiful old villas, which were built around the turn of the century.

This particular house, probably now several apartments, just leapt out as a fine example of the most beautiful brickwork I have ever seen. That chimney would have been designed on cartridge paper by a draughtsman using a dip pen and Indian ink, and a skill which is lost to most designers these days, with their CAD systems with enough power to light up a small village.

I felt so inspired by that chimney breast design, that I wanted to share it with as many people as possible. This elevation, apart from the clutter of satellite dishes, is probably unchanged from the original design, and even the pipes add some interesting lines and shapes. Everything is relaxed and seems to fit so comfortably.

If you zoom in on the brickwork, you can see so so many added details, and I could stare at all this for ages, as indeed I did, at least until I felt that there might be a siren or two approaching to apprehend a somewhat dishevelled Scrobs, taking suspicious photos of someone's private house and muttering incoherently...

Sunday 11 September 2011


5.15 does it for Scrobs...

here it is.

Sunday 4 September 2011

The rock machine turns you on...

I borrowed a copy of this years ago, when I was just a new arrivee on the London scene, and one of those twits who had no money, but a penchant for learning what it was all about...!

It's still a very special listen. I've still got a worn out copy in the roof, having paid a quid for it in a second-hand record shop in Canterbury. I reckon the bloke saw me coming...

This was an iconic album back then

...and I can still hear the tracks in this ol' head...

And my days definitely ain't numbered...!

Saturday 27 August 2011

Alan Coren's legacy...

Here come the bubbling scum,
Out from Foskett's Alloys,
There goes a dollop of something brown,
Down from Gribling's Mills.

My little boy's got covered in boils,
My little dog's gone bald,
Ho hum, humpidy hum,
All the ducks is dead.

This was published in 'Punch' back in the nineteen sixties, and was written about the time that everyone was getting a bit fed up with pollution, and sterile rivers etc.

Alan Coren called it something like 'Contamination Lament', and, after several pints, (quite a few actually), my chums and I used to sing it to a hastily made-up tune, which still lingers today...

If anyone has a copy of 'Punch' from back then, I'd love to see how the words have stuck!

Monday 22 August 2011

The good life continues...

The new allotment tends to take up quite a lot of spare time these days, so Sagtrouser and Bucket's Plant Hire section, is getting some well deserved business.

Some implements are easier to use than others...

Saturday 6 August 2011

Air guitar...Carpenters...

An astonishingly memorable riff from a superb guitarist, who must have recognised the charm and beauty of one of the loveliest voices in my lifetime, and just made this track an epic.

Hear the lovely lady here and wonder what happened to such beautiful singers...

I miss this sort of fabulous singing, she was such a gorgeous girl.

This is dedicated to my Mum, who would have been 97 today. Bless.

Saturday 30 July 2011

Australia story...

As some friends have noticed, I have a healthy respect - even fondness - for Australians everywhere. This is mainly a result of my friendship with many Aussie countrymen and girls over the years, which started in our London flat in Ifield Road, and was eventually taken over by chaps regularly arriving at Heathrow from Sydney in the late 1960s.

Scrobs Inc was characteristically penniless back then, and not up to big spending (other than Thursdays at 'The Ifield Tavern', or the 'Scarsdale Tavern', where we could buy six pints for less than a pound), but it was the Aussie generosity of spirit, as well as beer that captured my way of life, and it is so easy to recall the good times, we always seemed to be laughing at something...

I can easily remember having hysterics all the way to a Finborough Arms after the first ever showing of 'Monty Python', with the awful 'Dinsdale Piranha' ringing in our ears. My friend on that day now heads up a huge Australian food company. Another man (Sod) from the same era, went back home and ran one of the biggest advertising companies with household names as clients, and all this news came from a simple need by Scrobs, to find out where everyone finished up, and poking around on the net!

It's not fair to mention names, but it didn't take long to get to a name via '123 People', and chuck in a few pointers as well. A single surname cropped up, and it was indeed the cousin (another Ifield Rd stayee) of very chap! He forwarded it to the others, and within a few days, the whole gang had reassembled! We also reached across to South Africa for the last member of the crew, and the circle was just about complete!

I couldn't have wished for a better result, but there are just a few other chaps to seek out before we have the whole class of 1971...

Come on Geoff, Warren, and Baby Bear, where are you...?

Saturday 23 July 2011

Amy and Karen RIP...

I'm a bit perturbed to learn that Amy Winehouse is dead.

Throughout today, for several periods of time, I've had this fabulous song going through my ol' grey head - like whistling and humming and the rest, including the drum bit before the choir gets going...

The guitar solo is probably the best ever recorded - without exception, and I play that regularly in the shed with a pair of shears, or a trowel or something. I was intending to post this tomorrow.

Sad all this; two hugely talented girls, lost in some awful entertainment fuelled morass.

Friday 22 July 2011

A Rugby League Life...

Until now, I've never heard of the man. Rugby League was never my game, it was never even referred to round here, other than having a sneaking admiration for the likeable Eddie Waring, and we all chuckled at his manner of speech, as well as laughing at the 'I'm sorry, I haven't a clue' crowd, when they mimicked him...

If you have a few moments, just read this obit on Cec Thompson, and when you've finished, I hope you'll feel as enlightened and encouraged for the future of UK inc., as I have just been.

As long as there are people like Cec Thompson around, we can forget the miserable failures of the publicly-pursed self-servers which infest Britain; just for a few minutes.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Vera, Chuck and Dave...

Back in the 1960s, Scrobs was - as quite a few others were, an interested party to all the new songs and rhythms coming from the Beatles.

The first time 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' was played, it was Radio London - 'Big L' which put the whole album on air from start to finish, without interruptions! They were good like that.

That evening, I stayed working late in my office in Rye, doing some building drawing, and borrowed my good chum Ro's radio to hear these latest tracks.

Rosemary and I actually share the same birthday, today, and while she is two years younger than me, there are two more old friends who share the same date, Charlie (one year older), and Maura (one year younger)! We occasionally joined our respective birthday parties into one big celebration, and a good time was always had by all!

Back then, it didn't occur to me that track no 9 would ever be significant...


Saturday 16 July 2011

3D Scrobs...

The latest revelation to come out of Scrobs' shed, is this little number.

You'd never believe that a few bent nails, some old bits of wood, a margarine tub, three ft of sticky-backed-plastic, a grommett from a kid's bicycle, a few pictures from a holiday in Spain, and a cake candle, could make such an important machine!

Go for it everyone, it's the new way forward...

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Shaun the Sheep delivers knock-out punch to Microsoft...

In front of all the geeks, nerds and EU diktats etc, Scrobs Inc has developed a foolproof method of disabling that irritating banner advert thing in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, which infests every MS 'Starter Edition'.

He's Shaun the Sheep,
He's Shaun the Sheep.
He even mucks about
With those who cannot bleat.

He jumps at Gates,
He never waits,
He just gets up on his hind legs,
And alternates...

Saturday 9 July 2011

Dad's army - delayed yet again...

So I'm sitting here, waiting for - don't rush - a bloody football match to finish!

Yup, women's football is the BBC's answer to prime time viewing now.

At about a quid a throw, I'm getting fed up with this crap organisation, which have so many overpaid twats on board, they could be members of the house of commons.

Late arrivals at the 'News of the World' Shutting Down Party...

Mr and Mrs Stits, and their daughter Norma...

Er, that's it...

Saturday 2 July 2011

Drop the dead feck...

Father O'Blene (no relation) rose from his bed one morning. It was a fine spring day in his new Ballina parish.

He walked to the window of his bedroom to get a deep breath of the beautiful day outside. He then noticed there was a donkey lying dead in the middle of his front lawn. Not knowing who else to call, he promptly called the local police station.

The conversation went like this:

"Good morning. This is Sergeant Flannagan. How might I help you?"

"And the best of the day to your good self. This is Father O'Blene at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. There is a donkey lying dead right in the middle of my front lawn."

Sergeant Flannagan, considering himself to be quite a wit, replied with a smirk, "Well now Father, it was always my impression that you people took care of the last rites!"

There was dead silence on the line for a long moment and then Father O'Blene replied:

"Ah, to be sure, that is true; but we are also obliged to notify the next of kin."

Saturday 18 June 2011

The price of fish on a spreadsheet...

Electric Halibut covers an interesting point on his site, and it started me off one of my big moans about the supermarkets.

He points out the changes in sizes of wine boxes, which is a new one on me, well, until very recently.

When I walk into either Tesco or Sainsbury, I become an arithmetical lorry crash, and all my mental capacity for working out prices and best value just disappears at the drop of a 'BOGOF' leaflet! I actually don't mind these shops; you're in the warm, the car costs nothing to park, the people who work there appear to be from the same planet, and you can buy a television and a pair of underpants moments before you enquire about the price of sliced ham per portion.

Mr. Halibut describes how some wine boxes have shrunk in size, but not in value, and he's dead right! But that simple calculation of three bottles not four is a relatively easy one, because you can dash back to the bottles on the shelves, do a quick sum, and swish back before the fat idiot with a dumper trolley load of Uncle Bastard's greasy chips and nourishing pot-noodles, cottons on that there's possibly a bargain, and pinches the lot. However, we've only just noticed this three-not-four trick and it causes much more dashing, which at my time of life is inadvisable.

But the biggest moan for me, is the way they price their items to confuse the customer. How on earth can anyone be able to convert an item priced in kilograms (or 100 grams - worse), to price per pound in the few seconds before Waynetta prods you in the back with a garlic baguette? Or how does one work out the cost per item when a similar one next to it (from Bulgaria), is priced per pack of seven, but you get extra points and a free sandwich on Thursday! And in your head?

Of course, I blame 'MS Excel' for all this. Ever since Bill Gates said that apart from earning squillions, he'd invent the most irritating programme on the planet, the futile aspirations of anyone fiddling about with a spreadsheet, and discovering what will happen in the future, have meant that there's an awful lot of people nowadays, wondering what went wrong.

Except the supermarkets.

I'd just love to see their spreadsheets for the whole store. It's not just wine boxes is it? Surely it's the cheap bread on one day, the own brands, the Cola (I actually prefer the Tesco 17p one), the tiny packets of crisps, and the choc-ices which are the best value I've seen in years! That final line of figures on an enormous Excel page with an area approximately the size of East Anglia, would show that Scrobs paid just a few pennies more than he thought he was, and that's the icing on the cake (four for the price of three...)!

So I'm probably the same gullible old shopper, thinking I've spotted a bargain, (and sometimes I really have), but as that Monty Python character with all his limbs chopped off shouted once, 'I'll get you on the way back';

...and they do!

Tuesday 14 June 2011


Goodbye John Mackenzie, who 'talked' Bob Hoskins through the most chilling and memorable ending to any film I think I've ever seen...

Saturday 11 June 2011

And the bricks lie down on Crystal Palace...

A serious tincture-intake event caused Scrobs to stay over in the smoke yesterday, as there would be pandemonium on all the various forms of transport which would have to be deployed to enable such a late return home (pogo stick, hands and knees, horsedrawn landau etc), so ED generously said 'come and stay with us'...

The next morning, of course, they both sped off to work as is their wont, and after a great chat and putting the world to rights with his delightful Daught, Scrobs was left to his own devices for an hour or so before business restarted for the day.

As ED and EDP live near Crystal Palace, it is not difficult to vault over the fence, and survey the park at a leisurly pace. I've done this on a couple of occasions before, under similar circumstances, and find the place just totally beautiful and inspiring.

To think that I used to live just down the road, and that I'd drive past the place thousands of times without ever venturing inside, makes me somewhat ashamed that one of the much loved buildings (or ruins) of this dear country never got a peek from Scrobs (except for a visit one evening to watch a chum do the high jump in 1969).

Just wandering around the ruins of that great building is a humbling experience. The demise in 1936 is of course well documented, but to me, with the Brownie Box camera slung over a spare limb, it still seems as though the firefighters have just stamped on the remaining glowing embers, loaded up the buckets and hoses, told the people watching to buzz off, switched off the lights and gone home.

I hope the plans to refurbish the place come to fruition one day; I won't hold my breath, as there are more pressing requirements around, like mending the country, but I'm so glad that the army of gardeners keeps it in pretty good shape. It will look even better when they can get rid of the wire netting everywhere, but I just love the place.

As an aside, on the way home, I'd noticed in a road nearby, a stunningly beautiful example of intricate brickwork, which is a whole story in itself, so I'll post that soon.

Meanwhile, the Crystal Palace's foundations settle a little lower, move a few bricks around, and slumber on for another few years.

Lovely to see you both M and M, you recognise the theme of the title no doubt...

Saturday 4 June 2011

The plot thickens...

October 2010...

Last month...

Back in 1988, just after the big storm the year before, I built a sizeable barn replacement for a local farmer.

His old barn had blown over, and of course, he needed a replacement pretty quick, as his cows were beginning to low a bit louder, and generally become unionised over the wet hay issues, as well as having nowhere to sleep when it was cold.

So Scrobs was called in to build a new one, and it was ever thus.

Apart from the frame collapsing spectacularly, while I was chatting with the old boy and watching from the side, we got it going pretty quickly, and had to decide what to put on the roof.

The natural farmer's choice is corrugated asbestos, because it looks the part. I originally wanted metal, but the noise would have been too great during the one thunderstorm we were due to get before this summer we're in now, so the farmer won the argument, and asbestos it was. The roofing weights were recalculated, and it all went up like a dream.

Just this week, at the allotments, a very generous soul has given our group down the end, a large plastic and steel container for rainwater collection. He gets these for free from a place which would have to 'recycle' them in the Meltdown Chamber at Dungeness Power Station, or somewhere similarly bureaucratic, because it once contained wood preservative, but they are magnificent for the job of collecting the faint dribble of mist which we might get before July is out.

The agreement is that I fix it up next to our shed, and divert the downpipe which normally goes into the bath I use for water, into this big tank. That's fine, but in doing so the roof needs recovering because it wasn't built by Scrobs, and there are various deficiencies in design, which need rubbing out.

Our generous soul also came up with the idea of supplying some corrugated metal sheets to put on the roof, but I can't get them home to cut them, and have already mucked up my hacksaw trying to do it without power. So I was b******d.

Until GS suggested that I might like some spare Onduline sheets he has lying about. Now, this stuff is peculiar, corrugated bitumen stuff, and I knew very little about it, until in a jiffy, I'd picked them up, snipped them to shape and fitted them all last evening!

Great result! We have a red roof at the front, and a cream roof at the back, and I'll pop on the ridge sometime today!

This is the stuff he gave me, and it's exactly what was needed for the job.

But why the connection to a barn built in 1988 you ask? Come on, I can hear the whisperings, the sideways glances and rolling eyes! You're all (both of you) muttering 'That silly old fart Scrobs is losing the few marbles he has left, and is killing time before his next tincture...'!

Well the answer is this. The farmer at some stage, suggested that all his agricultural chums were rooting around for sheets like this, because they were perfect for the oddities of uneven roof joists, leaning structures etc., and could be cut with a clasp knife, and why don't I use them on his barn?

He looked decidedly crestfallen when I'd said they would be useless...

Wish I hadn't now...

Sunday 29 May 2011


Fish is a bloody good singer isn't he...

Saturday 28 May 2011


Not a lot of people know this...

Nettles are great as a soup and as a window cleaner (soaked and used as a bunch in a gloved hand) They are also nitrogen-rich, and can be steeped in rainwater for a seriously powerful garden nutrient, and they attract lots of butterflies!

The Romans also whipped themselves with bunches to warm themselves up (this is of course, pre-Rita Chevrolet, so no sniggers from the girls please), and used them as an antidote for hemlock, although why anyone belts around imbibing Chateau Deadly Nightshade, just so they can get a few extra slurps of nettle hooch is beyond me...

The fibrous stalks are also stronger than flax, and can be made into bed linen, ropes, and seriously violent underpants.

(There is a theme of sorts here, which somehow reminds me of politicians and other high-spending wasters, but perhaps that's my vivid imagination...)

And when I was about four, I pushed Peter Hickey off a farm trailor into a huge bed of nettles, and was told off by the Headmistress for being so unkind! (I'm so, so sorry Peter, that was an awful thing to do, and I've always regretted it)!

Sunday 22 May 2011

A drive in the country...

My chum, Quentin ffoxley-Cabbage was discussing the attributes of his new car to anyone who bothered to listen.

'Q' is a great chap, well liked, and with a ready smile and wink to all and sundry, as well as a stash of large denomination notes in a cavernous wallet, which he opens more than often to buy rounds of drinks for those who care to join him.

All in all, like Damon Runyon's immortal character, Feet Samuels, 'Q' is a very honourable guy.

The latest story went like this...

'Q' was driving to a new site, which is way out in the sticks, and is reached via a series of country lanes. He was driving his new Ferrari, and had not a care in the world, until there was a sort of splutter from the bonnet of the car, and it sighed, stopped and coasted to a halt in a layby.

'Q' said 'bugger' under his breath, then on top of it as well for good measure. He also said several other words, but as Toniatelline Nougat was on the bar pumps, and doesn't like rude words, (unless they're being whispered in her shell-like), he didn't tell us what they were.

He got out of his car and gingerly lifted the bonnet. All he could see was a myriad of pipes, wires, gleaming steel bits, something red, and not much else. As he was staring blankly at the engine, wondering what to do next, he thought he heard a voice say 'red electric capping loose'!

Looking both ways he saw nobody, and heard nothing. The voice repeated the words 'red electric capping loose'. Again, 'Q' looked all round and saw nothing moving, except for a couple of old horses munching their way across the field nearby. One was watching him closely.

So 'Q', in desperation, nudged the red item in the engine, and sure enough, it moved slightly! He quickly realised that it needed a twist of some sorts, and sure enough, it tightened up immediately, which is something Ferrari are always proud of, especially where certain parts of the body are concerned, but we won't go there for the time being...

'Q' took one last glance around, and seeing nothing except the old nags in the field, he got in, started his car, and drove off.

In the next village, he realised he needed a short tincture to alleviate the pangs of pain at the thought of having a broken car which had been mended by unusual circumstances, and which was now running as it should, so he stopped off at 'The Haywain', to take on supplies.

The bar was occupied by a few local worthies as is usual, and the chat was all about nothing in particular, so 'Q', in his usual generous way, offered them a drink while he started to tell them why he was there. Of course, they all listened, especially when they started on the various pints 'Q' had bought them, and it seemed a good time to listen to a story from someone with a big red car and a big wallet as well.

'Q' explained how his car had ground to a halt, and with a guilty smile on his face, kept them aghast about the 'voice' which told him to check the red capping piece.

The bar went quiet, as the assembled worthies digested this information, and one old boy in the corner piped up and said, "Were there two horses in the field where you stopped"?

'Q', of course, admitted that there were indeed two old chaps wandering round eating grass and one had been looking at him.

The old boy then said, "Was there a grey horse and a brown one in the field"?

'Q' agreed there were two horses, and one was brown; the other grey.

The old boy then said, "Which one was looking at you then"?

'Q' thought for a moment, and recalled that it was indeed the grey one which was peering at him, so he told the old boy.

The old chap then let out a huge snort and a bellow of laughter, and said, "I thought as much; it's just as well the brown one didn't see you, because he knows fuck all about cars..."!

Saturday 14 May 2011


Here is a view which hasn't been seen from this point in 'The Turrets' for about 200 years.

Uninterrupted early morning sun!

There used to be two big old trees in the way, and one of them was struck by lightning a few years ago, (which frightened the s**t out of us, as we were just going out with JRT, and the air outside the door just exploded), and eventually succumbed to the saw, and the other one was given the chop a few weeks ago, because it had a terminal disease, and had been looking pretty sad for years.

So, we get the benefit of this great big ray coming at us this early in the morning (about 6.00am), and it'll get better of course!

Marvellous things chainsaws aren't they...

Sunday 8 May 2011

One 'mmmmmm' and you're off...

The best way to save electricity?

Directly a song comes on the radio, and starts with a few soulful chords, and some groaning, wailing 'mmmmm's, it gets turned off!

Just like that! PDQ!

I've saved loads of money that way, and best of all, my blood pressure remains at a constant 'just OK, but don't buy any green bananas' level...

Sunday 1 May 2011

202 leeks...

In honour of Paul Mealor's fabulous piece of music at the Royal Wedding, I've just planted out 202 leeks...

I think I should also mention Karl Jenkins in the same post, as he is doing some great things as well and he's come a long way from the days of Soft Machine!

Floreat daffodil...

Sunday 24 April 2011

Sod orff...

Bliar and Drown are not wanted at the wedding next Friday.


Friday 22 April 2011

Easter whodunnit...

There's a folk song somewhere out there with some of the lyrics which go a bit like this...

Hey Willy, Willy,
Come to your window'

Hey Willy, Willy
(something or other),

There are (something or other - relating to young men joining up, possibly American Civil War...)

And its 18??

And - er - that's it...

For those of you with the musical touch, the guitar chords are a basic C then Amin; C, then Amin, rather like the beginning of 'His latest flame' by Elvis Presley! The years change with the final line in each verse, so the next verse may be 1866 instead of the previous verse which might be 1863!

I used to do this occasionally back in the sixties, and changed the name to 'Jenny', because she was a lovely friend, and married Eddie!

As usual, the winner gets a big hug, and the second place will get two hugs, as I've been out in the garden all morning and it's a bit hot out there...

(And it definitely isn't a song by 'The Hollies', but it was the only pic I could find with even half the title of a song I can hardly remember, and which may well be the meanderings of a junior Scrobs' mind, while under the influence of seven pints of 'Old Dreadfull' and 20 Three Castles Tipped...)

Saturday 16 April 2011

Stunning intro...

A few years ago, (just about now) when both Daughts were living at 'The Turrets', there were the usual discussions about films, programmes, life in general etc., and because our lovely girls were both well towards adulthood, I found the discussions enlightening and informative.

To be honest, I learned an awful lot from our two lovely Daughts.

When 'Philadelphia' (the film) came out in the early nineties, my dear old Mum was becoming embraced in the realms of Alzheimers, and was safely and softly planted in a pleasant home in Hastings. It was a difficult time for everyone, including my Dad, who wasn't well either. We were all in limbo for several months.

I can easily remember listening to this on one particular drive over to Canterbury, where I worked, while I was coming off the M2 onto the A2 down towards the city. This song on the radio was Bruce Springstein's seminal theme song from the film, and I remember feeling utterly miserable on hearing those first enigmatic major/minor chords, with the simple drum beat in the background.

It really hurt - oh yes, it did...

And so, later on, I watched the film at home with both Daughts, and they explained exactly what was going on. And I mean exactly, i.e. why the story in the film was so important.

And I learned some more from our Daughts, some more news of the present world, which I'd probably been ignoring so I could focus on what we all wanted as a family; like holidays, gardens, money...

So then, I bought the music from the film (still broke, last recession biting hard; got it from Cranbrook Library when they sold off all their old tapes; cost me a quid...) and it is now safely in my shed with Younger Daught's old tape player, so I can listen to great music like this to my heart's content, while making the rocking horse for GD.

If ever there was an incredibly powerful soundtrack to any film, then this one must be up there with the best of them. It is totally absorbing, and means an awful lot to an ageing Scrobs. There are several other songs on the soundtrack, and if anyone wants to ask me, then I'll provide the links, because one particular intro just melts...

Monday 11 April 2011

Well known typing error...

This big house has just come onto the market at a cool £1,675,000, and I hope it sells well for several reasons.

It was the first private house Scrobs ever worked on as a very junior quantity surveyor, way back in 1968.

Back then, it was one of the biggest new projects being built around Rye, and it still seems strange to remember that the final account came in at a shade under £35,000 to build!

The house was built for one particular family, who were pretty well off, and I haven't seen that staircase since I stood there when the job was virtually finished, and was peered at down an imperious nose by the lady of the house one day. I'd called in because I wanted to re-check a measurement of the copper tube, which made up the central heating system in the place. The builders, Turner Bros., of nearby Winchelsea, had put in bills for two near identical amounts of this 1/2" pipe, and I just couldn't reconcile the money, which was about £35.00!

So it was my job to remeasure every single run of pipe and check the lengths against what they'd ordered. It was the first barney I ever had with a builder, and although I was proved right, it was an unnerving experience! But of course, to Mrs Imperious, this would have gone right over her head...

What will probably come out in the open though, is the fact that it was eventually bought by Spike Milligan, and he died while living there. He's buried in Winchelsea boneyard, somewhere in the distance of the pic!

Spike famously said once, that he thought that the house had been designed by a blind architect! I got to know the chap pretty well back then (always Mr McLachlan), and in fact he was one of the most skilled and laid-back designers I've ever met in past or present! He never assumed that we thought he could walk on water, as so many under-talented designers do these days, and I remember him designing a chimney detail in his beloved 'Bradstone' with just the basic drawing board and 'T' square, and doing it in ink, with no pencil, and immediately describing for the builder what he wanted! And it worked of course!

So much for 'blind architect', the working address we used for the house was 'Dumb Woman's Lane'!

Saturday 9 April 2011


For no reason, I started humming this song a couple of days ago. I actually quite like a forceful beat, not rock-ape thicko stuff, but something with the occasional brain cell included in the price, and that's why I liked Joanni by Kate Bush! (Well, Kate Bush looks like Pips, so I'd have to wouldn't I...)!

Any'ow, I can easily remember the Bee Gees on their first outing on the Beeb's Top of the pops, and they played (or mimed, as their guitars weren't plugged in) this song.

When Mrs S was seriously poorly, and in hospital with all sorts of bits going wrong, the Babes were under Scrobs' control, and doing their level best. On one visit, I managed to get a request on the hospital radio, and we got Massachusetts played. The Babes became even more precious then...

Some say that Scrobs is losing his marbles, but not to his face thank goodness...

Saturday 2 April 2011

Census story...

I've recently filled in our census form, because, despite being shredded by banks, politicians etc., like most small businessmen, I quite like keeping records, and if any despot really wants to know where I live and what I was doing last night, I can imagine that the last thing he's going to do is click through the 500 million odd forms to find my address...

In the 1901 census, I discovered that my paternal grandfather, the builder who built quite a lot of Letchworth, and Welwyn Garden City, was listed as a 'Tinman'.

Now, apart from whistling 'Yellow Brick Road' a few times, and also this lovely little song by some old heroes, I was surprised by this, because:-

1) I thought he'd always run a plumbing firm, and later, a full building business,

2) I couldn't find out exactly what a 'Tinman' was, apart from the obvious connection with - er - tin! I thought of 'scrap' (nooo), 'tinned' joints in plumbing (maybe), but finally gave up!

Only recently, I uncovered some rare notes written by my Uncle Jack ('twill be another post, but not here), which had several paragraphs on what was going on in the Scrobs ancestry in the early 1900s. He mentioned a workshop in Grandpa Scrobs' early life, where he'd based his plumbing business, and where, in his spare time, he made kitchen implements like bespoke pots, saucepans and the like, (perhaps an early version of these) and they were sold in a shop in Leys Avenue, Letchworth! I imagine they did the job properly, (otherwise they wouldn't have sold) and hope that they stayed the course! Apparently, he loved the work too!

So there you have it; just a small census yarn about a 'Tinman', and which also causes me a bit of a grin, because, as all three readers know, Scrobs spends ages in the shed, doing this and that, and his entry in the census says - er - oh hellfire, I didn't say...

Thursday 31 March 2011

The carpenter's yarn - priceless...

A carpenter was giving evidence about an accident he had witnessed.

The lawyer for the defendant was trying to discredit him and asked him how far away he was from the accident.

The carpenter replied, "Twenty-seven feet, six and one half inches."

"What? How come you are so sure of that distance?" asked the lawyer.

"Well, I knew sooner or later some idiot would ask me, so I measured it!" replied the carpenter.

h/t Davethespread

Saturday 26 March 2011

Act of kindness...

At a time when it seems that UK inc is chucking money round the world like a man with no arms, and with little regard for it's own citizens, it might be a good idea to recall a singular act of kindness towards us, which occurred many years ago.

Lynmouth was ravaged by a huge flood on August 15th, 1952, and in straightened times, was international headline news of a huge tragedy to this delightful little town.

The events are well documented, and I well knew Charles Dobbie, the Consulting Engineer who was on holiday there at the time, and provided unique expertise to the council in bringing the place back to near-normal.

During the aftermath, and at the start of the reconstruction, there was a visit to the town by a certain Mr William Bustamente, who was then a Chief Minister in Jamaica. The Caribbean had experienced a devastating hurricane a year before, and Jamaica had taken the brunt of the storm.

Mr Bustamente arrived in person, and came down to Lynton to express his sorrow and regret, and wanted to reciprocate the largesse of a cash-strapped UK, by bringing with him a lorry load of bananas, sugar and coffee from his own country, which he happily distributed to everyone in the crowd - especially the children.

Now that was a nice thing to do.

Monday 21 March 2011

Wheel Hoe or, Hoe down...

Scrobs/Growster Inc. PLC. Wheel hoe.

Idea - Slightly different version by Scrobs, some years ago...

Confirmation of idea - Seeing one for sale, but in a 1988 Marshall's Seed Catalogue, (discovered clinging to the back of an old gardening book) and causing panic in 'The Turrets'.

Further information - loads of pics here.

Wheel - 'Discovered' in pile of rusted mangled metal by the allotment tipping patch.

Handles - The old lawnmower handles somehow left in the roof after all these years...(they were also the subject of a mysterious series of letters between a certain Ms Bunty Binstock, The Grafas Fruning Graplecard, The Beast, The W-Bs, and of course, Modo, which wandered in all directions and eventually centred around the daily life of a deranged community in Scotton Pinkney many years ago! I ask you!)

Handle extensions - From Sgt. Wilson's motorbike - an idea pinched from a pic on 'Gurgle Images'.

Body - Bits of the old oak posts from the church notice board (the rest of the stuff was made into a rustic mantle shelf and return on the fireplace.)

Main axle - 6" bolt from sadly-now-closed local ironmongers over twenty years ago.

Screw bolts - From Hendon 'Homebase' (see Scrobs passim), and our old greenhouse.

Hoe blade and brackets - Old car/bike bars from past cycling forays in Bedgebury Forest before the arrival of JRT. They were sitting there doing nothing, especially after the said bike was commandeered by Sergeant Wilson... (the blade is now also updated with piece of metal from Mrs S's mum's old magazine rack...)

A typical picture of Scrobs, wearing the traditional garb of a keen but occasionally confused agriculturalist...

The idea of this type of hoe, is that the wheel enables an easy forward motion, allowing you to push your way between the rows of verdant, luscious vegetables, with the blade scraping just below the surface, thereby disturbing and aerating the soil, and also consigning the weeds to oblivion. It is also very quick.

It actually works extremely well thank goodness. There are several American websites which show nice expensive tools and contraptions, all very shiny and bright, but what's really wanted is a quick and easy way to clout the weeds and chuck the soil around a little, before getting home to a tincture or three of a Sunday morning!

p.s. The song is a favourite from the triple compilation album, 'The Music Makers', which would clatter round the flat after a few sherberts in 'The Two Sawyers' all those years ago...