Today I bought myself a garden rake. It was, in its way, a Red Letter Moment.
You see, despite reaching what Young Faris would term a "Great Age" I have never purchased
a garden implement before. I have, of course, been a party to the Buying of Implements in the past, when Mr B chose and I said "very nice, dear" or words to that effect. But today the choice and the purchase were mine, all mine.
Almost all the garden tools in our garage look as if they are past their sell-by date. To be fair, there is a reasonably new garden broom which, despite a slight kink in the handle, is perfectly serviceable. Plus a rather splendid leaf rake, bought
by Mr B in a fit of temper caused by the avalanche of leaves one Autumn from the plum tree in next door's garden, looks as good as new. Presumably because it only gets an outing for a few weeks once a year.
old rake, however (I am talking about garden tools here, not Mr B) is in a right old state. In fact, it is in two pieces - there is a handle and a head. I am reminded of that great episode of Only Fools and Horses, when Trigger is presented with an award for
saving council money on account of using the same broom for twenty years. The fact that over the same period of time, Trigger's broom has sported seventeen new heads and fourteen new handles is neither here nor there.
English is not the first language of my Son In Law, husband of the Middle of the Darling Daughters, but he is possibly Only Fools and Horses' greatest fan. To it he owes his sure grasp of the English language, Del Boy style. Fortunately Young Faris
appears to be copying his mother's favourite sayings, rather than the Trotters'. "Bye- bye. Take care!" he told me, on the other end of the phone yesterday. Bless the boy! Mind you all through our conversation I could hear his mother saying: "No, no, don't
press that button, you'll cut Nanni off..."
But I digress. You are surely waiting with bated breath to hear more about my garden rake. Well, having decided that, unlike Trigger, I would not be able to bring
the old rake back to life, I set off for the garden centre. I did ask Mr B if he wanted to come with me, luring him with the prospect of coffee and a toasted tea cake - but Tottenham Hotspur was on TV so I was onto a loser. I wouldn't be long, I told him,
all I needed were winter pansies - and a rake. He raised his eye-brows at me. "Whatever next?" the expression on his face clearly said.
Oh, what a great rake I found! According to the label it is a "Tool You
Can Trust" which is good to know, don't you think? I'm not sure what I can trust it with, presumably not my life, though it seems it will stick by me through thick and thin. "Gardener's Mate" is the chummy name of the range of garden tools of which my new
rake is one. It has been constructed from durable, heat treated carbon steel, has twelve tines for efficient raking and a hammered finish head to protect against rust. Everyone should have one. A hammered finish head, that is.
The handle, I'd have you know, is a feature of my new rake. It is made from FSC certified Ash. I know all about the FSC, or the Forest Stewardship Council to give it its full, impressive title. The older two (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys and I once
spent a happy half hour in a marquee at Bristol Zoo, playing a game which involved us sifting through a heap of wooden items to find the ones with the FSC logo on them, indicating that they were made of wood from "well managed forests". I can't speak for the
boys but clearly the message went home as far as I was concerned.
I could have bought a more expensive rake, one with a twenty year guarantee but, to be honest, I'm not sure how much raking I will be doing
in twenty years time, apart, that is, from raking up old stories that everyone has heard before. My chosen rake only cost £12.99 and is guaranteed for twelve years which would seem Plenty Good Enough For Me.
Making my way to the check-out, I was something of a Danger To Others, with my FSC certified Ash handle sticking out from my trolley at a rakish angle but I don't think I killed anyone along the way. Everybody gave me a wide berth, which was extremely
sensible of them. I expect customers in garden centres grow accustomed to avoiding trolleys with rakes, spades, forks and hoes sticking out of them.
I did a bit of raking when I got home, just to test out
the efficiency of the twelve, durable, heat treated carbon steel tines. I am well pleased with my purchase. If you like, I shall try, via the Daily Blog, to keep you up to date with how I am doing, raking over old ground and all?
I could call it "Rake's Progress."