Smashing Pumpkins at the Quiz Of The Week and a Big Slip for Shouty Mal

If you read these blogs regularly (both of you) and have the standard quotient of wits about you (which you undoubtedly have) you may just have picked up that I am partial to the odd beer. This means that my local hostelries are positively queueing up to throw cheer and bonhomie at me, particularly at this dark and dismal time of year, when the long nights are not so much setting in as buying a three story house with a long lease and considering a large family.

They beckon to me temptingly with their bright lights, free pints and themed nights because they know that once I’m sat down on a comfy bench or chair with a pint of something frothy and tasty in my hand, I am unlikely to move elsewhere this side of Michaelmas.

The winner over the last few weeks has been The Shunters Arms. This warm and cosy, panelled den of amiable iniquity has been a constant friend to me on these long, dreary winter nights, putting a virtual arm round my shoulder and saying ‘there there’, when Mrs Drew has decided to disappear off somewhere to visit her sister, go to a health spar or run an acne awareness workshop for teenagers in Tring.

Now the Shunters is a decent pub, not a stonker of an inn, but a decent pub which sells decent beer and decent food and has a decent weekly quiz, a large and variable pool of knowledge and characters into which I occasionally dip my pinkies as part of a team who have been doing it so long you only have to mention the  Great Wall of China to start an argument about what you can or can’t see from the moon (and no you can’t its a myth).

My semi-regular team mates, (work has stoped me participating as much recently) are Shouty Mal (lovely, generous and the shoutiest man I know) Dozy ‘Oops fell asleep again’ Doug, Guitar George (because he plays guitar in a local band) and Phil the Cat (because he has a cat. I know!) are all, in varying degrees, veterans of this very British institution, and love nothing more than bickering over whether it was Nelson’s right arm and left eye, left arm and right leg or right eye and right arm that were shot and ruined (the last is correct).

And why am I jabbering on about this? Well, last night saw something of a departure. It was, of course, Halloween, kids were abroad in the streets hassling pensioners for sweets and the pub gods in their wisdom had decided to include a special round that involved carving pumpkins.

Ah, Captain. Welcome aboard!

No-one on the team I join is a natural pumpkin carver but Shouty Mal decided he would have a go. Bad idea. He’s no artist and we should have seen problems ahead as we tucked into our pints of Captain Ahab’s White Whale Ale and wrangled over whether or not Canberra was the capital of Australia (it is) and which horror film had a protagonist called Jason (Friday the Thirteenth).

Now grown men should never, ever argue over how to carve a pumpkin in a public house.It’s not seemly and it’s not REMOTELY important but all of sudden everyone was an expert, Guitar George was trying to take charge and pointing out that the big hole in the middle of the pumpkin was too big to be a mouth unless your mouth was your whole face, Phil the Cat was trying to be helpful but really being annoying,  I was trying to keep out of it and then  Dozy Doug woke up long enough to point and laugh at Mal’s, frankly, primary school level efforts.

At this, Mal, whose temper is frequently just out of reach, completely lost it, smashed the pumkin with his fist, squashing it completely and removing all chances of winning the cheap bottle of Rumanian Chardonnay set aside for the winner. Then he  threw the carving tool down, shouted “You’re all a bunch of *%$#** ” and stormed out into the bijou patio that acts as an outdoor bar, smoking area and occasional boxing ring. The door slammed and then we heard a shout followed by a thumping noise, followed by the longest stream of imaginative cursing I heave heard since my uncle Dan, who was in the navy, caught his beard in the zip of his parka.

We rushed outside to see Mal, squarely lying on his back in a pile of leaves. He’s fine by the way, we got him up, dusted him down and bought him a snifter of whiskey and he thawed out OK, but it could have been very nasty. As Phil the Cat said, “Luckily he landed on his wallet, which he hardly ever opens so it’s probably stuffed with old fivers and broke his fall.”

Mitox leaf blower
Blow them away with the  Mitox BV280bvx leaf blower

But my point is, DON’T ignore your piles of leaves! The are a trip hazard and now Shouty Mal is threatening to sue Newcastle Nick, the landlord (he’ll probably settle for a couple of free pints knowing him).

Seriously though. Clear up your leaves. Particularly if us public (we are known to be stupid) are visiting. And get them off your grass  too, they are doing goodness knows what damage to your lovely lawn.

Clearing solutions are easy to find.  We have many fine vacuums, blowers and sweepers for all sizes of property and for all budgets. Like the popular, powerful and reasonably priced, Mitox 280BVX PREMIUM Petrol Blower-Vac, at £199 reduced from £239 with FREE next working day delivery and FREE oil.

Or go for a simple and effective sweeper, inexpensive and easy to use but time-saving and effective. The MD

MD Handy Leaf Sweeper
Simple but Effective: MD Handy Leaf Sweeper

Handy Push Lawn & Leaf Sweeper is popular with customers  (check out these reviews) and very affordable at £149, saving £40 on the `RRP and with FREE next working day delivery to the UK mainland. 

Or what about the big guns. If you have a large property or business premises and you really want to get cleaning up, – including ‘after festive party clearing’ as this beast will pick up bottles, twigs, leaves, pine-cones, wrappers and just about everything – what about taking a look at the awesome Billy Goat KV600 Estate Series Lawn Vacuum.

It features a robust, five-blade metal shredding impeller which will break up bottles and cans,  micro height-adjustment, an optional wide hose attachment, a meaty 190cc motor for plenty of power and semi-pneumatic tyres.

it’s not too late to clear those leaves and make the paths, parks and patios of Britain safe again. So do take a look at our extensive range and, if you need advice, why not call us on 0345 4588 905 (9am-5pm Mon-Fri & 10am-4pm Sat) Our product advisers are known for their friendliness and knowledge and will go out of their way to offer you impartial advice and find the machine that is right for your needs.

I am very happy. A simple phone call and some excellent advice and service and the mower was delivered the following day….  I can happily recommend both the mower and MowDirect.” JOHN

And in the meantime, cold it may be, dark it may be getting but you can still enjoy your garden.   Drew Hardy.

 

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Drew Hardy

Freelance Writer at Mowdirect
A keen allotmenteer with an interest in all things horticultural, Drew has a varied writing background with experience in a number of fields including garden machinery, lawn care and compost. His first experience with gardening was a cultivating a small plot he was given by his house master at school. He grew a decent crop of radishes and lettuce and sold them to a local shop, exhibiting his first, and last, sign of an entrepreneurial spark. Drew lives in North London with his wife, two children and a slightly bonkers cat
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