Pitting Our Wits

This Covid situation we find ourselves in can be unpleasant, scary and inconvenient – but I always try to think positive. We have been pretty much confined to our own homes but the weather has been good, so that extends to the garden if you are lucky enough to have one. My job is busier than ever at the moment but during my time off I feel I have achieved great things. It has been useful to have a resident Odd Job Man (alias Grumbling Rose), who is unable to carry out his regular work at the moment and has so far not been selected for any volunteer work. There is an area of our garden known to us as “the gravel pit”. It’s at the bottom of the garden and is a real suntrap but it has fallen into a sorry state of repair over the last few years. Finally there has been time to tackle it, so after several long days we are pleased with the results.


The one thing spoiling it was our old barbecue – it was in a shameful state – rusty and worse still hadn’t been cleaned out since the last barbecue of 2019 – grim. Odd Job Man announced he had ordered a new one – he reported that the web site feedback was generally excellent but there were one or two comments about it being a little challenging to assemble – they were probably from people not used to self-assembly he said. The box arrived in record time and after 3 days sitting in the garage while any viruses clinging to it had time to expire, he ripped it open. I was cleaning the bathroom – I could hear a lot of clanging and grunting going on outside. I imagined I would look out of the window and see a fully assembled barbecue but no – what I saw was an array of parts laid out like an operating theatre. I ventured out and asked what the problem was. 26 pages of instructions for a start. Close up I could also see numerous small storage pots from the kitchen cupboard, each containing different numbers and sizes of screws, nuts, bolts and washers. He looked completely exasperated and befuddled. I started to look at the instructions – it was a mistake – before I knew it I had been lured into the construction process. 4 hours later our new barbecue was born!


The story doesn’t end there. He decided to put the old barbecue out on the pavement in case the scrap metal man came by. I said I didn’t think he would in the current situation. It sat there for days. I felt embarrassed – what would the neighbours think? Then on day 5 a young man called out to Odd Job Man who was in the garage and asked whether he could have it, saying in broken English he could make it work and only lives around the corner. It was filthy – I’m so ashamed. I envisage him getting it home and being ordered to put it straight out on the kerb again!

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