Counting Cats in Zanzibar Rotating Header Image

What I did at 8:30am…

At 8:30am I was shoveling from the council gritter into a wheel barrow. Now I don’t mean the kind of crappy ball-jobbies that lilac-shirted maker of crap vacuum cleaners (give me a Henry) James-Bastarding-Dyson designs but a proper agricultural wheel-barrow. One that I had just previously tipped-out of snow and something vaguely organic that I can only call “matter”. I may have killed an advanced microbial civilization. I frankly don’t care.

Now, the gritting of the path (and we had a collection of biddies and codgers in today and I seriously doubt if one of them fractured a hip they’d easily get an ambulance up the road so I grits the path). I subsequently have fielded two phone-calls from folk turning-up asking for advice on getting 4x4s up the road. My neighbour has a Land Rover and he told me he wasn’t driving anywhere for “Love nor money”. But I had to get a full wheel-barrow – one-wheel drive (powered by a single Nick-Power engine about 100 metres up a 45 degree slope, through the snow, in the wind.

It was emotional. At one point I stopped. At this point I learned the true meaning of the phrase, “Adding insult to injury”.

Because a dog-walker happened by. A twinkly middle-aged bell-end and Gore-Texed to the hilt – looked like Ranolph Fiennes exploring his Southern Pole and he asked me, “If I was having fun”?

Rapidly, three options presented themselves…

In order…

1. Cut his head off with my spade and hurl it into the river. Advantage: instant gratification! Disadvantage: 20 years in Strangeways.

2. Say something really sarky like, “Yeah, the last time I had this much fun I was having an umbrella drink on a private Carribean island whilst an oiled-up Halle Berry and Scarlett Johanson were wrestling over who got to give me a blow-job – oh, and I was also watching NUFC beat Sunderland 25-0”. I just couldn’t be bothered.

3. Do nothing. Say nothing. Shove that barrow up the road! Proj on!

I did #3.

There is a moral to this tale. It is that there is one born every minute and they are mainly cunts.

Oh I don’t mean Chairman Mao class-cunts! I mean the common or garden variety of cuntishness. Just the casual twattish version of cuntery. I didn’t even want him to get me a bit of momentum up. No. I just didn’t appreciate having the piss taken by a bloke who wasn’t pushing a heavily laden barrow through the fucking snow up a steep hill. Just a little empathy for your fellow traveller on life’s pathway. Just, actually, not saying anything.


  1. john in cheshire says:

    I like to think that I’d have asked you if you needed any help. Maybe that’s the problem – too many of us now think that it’s beneath us to actually offer help? Another reason could be that we’ve had the notion to offer help beaten out of us by the socialist mentality of finding something negative in every good deed? Just a couple of thoughts. Oh, and is there a reason for you dislike of Dyson vacs? I have one, my mother has a Henry. They both work well; the Henry was at least half the price of the Dyson. I prefer an upright vacuum cleaner so that’s the big advantage, for me, of the Dyson. But for sheer suction power, maybe the Henry has the edge. Next subject – clothes maiden or clothes line, haha.

  2. RAB says:

    You should have gritted HIS teeth Nick. 😉

  3. TwentyRothmans says:

    @john in cheshire
    It’s the council’s job, isn’t it?

    Perhaps Nick should have said “Not since I did your wife/dog” to spread the cheer.

  4. JuliaM says:

    “Disadvantage: 20 years in Strangeways.”

    Only if they catch you, Nick. Only if they catch you…

  5. NickM says:

    Henry every time. I discussed this once at some length with a cousin of mine who runs a contract cleaning firm in Brum. OK, he’s my age, has a nice house, a beautiful and charming wife anfd they hav two sports-convertibles on the drive (plus the vans, natch). Swears by the Henry.

    Now, I honestly can’t understand why anyone buys an upright. Obviously you are not unique for there is a maket for them – clearly. I guess whatever floats one’s boat. But that is of course what is good about diversity of stuff and the market. And volunatism as you mention. Kinda reminds me of “Day of the Triffids” where unlike the hero and heroine (and some thers) who actually deal with the cataclysm there is a load of folks who hunker down convinced that the Americans will turn up “anytime now”.

  6. NickM says:

    I don’t want to take the risk of ppearing on your blog in your enclyopeadic litany of underclass scumbaggery 😉

  7. RAB says:

    We used to have a Vax, very similar to a Henry… you could even wash carpets with it. It was great at washing but bugger all use at getting up the copious amounts of dog hair that our old dog used to shed. We even bought a special head for it, but even that didn’t work.

    Now we have a Sebo. A german machine with what sounds like an old Tiger Tank engine in it (you can hear it three blocks away) but boy does it suck! (in the best possible way of course). And it’s an upright with all the attachments for getting in those tricky places and doing the friggin stairs, of which there are four flights of them in our Gaff. Dem Germans make pretty good machines ya know.

  8. Mr Ed says:

    He might simply have been a typical Englishman, slightly awkward making conversation, trying to be bland, says a Devil’s Advocate (although Pope JP 2 abolished that function).

    I find that Hankook Icept Winter tyres can cope with almost any conditions found in England, even solid ice uphill on the A69.

    Surely only 10 years before licence for murder in those circumstances. Unless you come across as a ‘socially-unfriendly’ element.

  9. Stonyground says:

    We have a Dyson and I find it to be very effective and very cleverly designed. I really like the telescopic thing that replaces all those sections that you used to have to join together.

    I used to work as an agricultural engineer in the seventies. When they started fitting turbochargers to tractors they had to come up with much more effective air filters for them. These involved a disposable paper filter about the size of a beer keg, and a pre-cleaner that involved a clear polycarbonate bowl with a kind of cyclone thing going on. For some reason, I never looked at one of these things and said to myself, you know what, you could apply that principle to vacuum cleaners.

  10. Stonyground says:

    I just thought of an incident when I and a work colleague came into the carpark at a motorway service station to see a couple of guys involved in a futile attempt to bump-start their car. We immediately joined in to give them a push and got them going, why would anyone not want to do so?

  11. Jobrag says:

    Not even close to being off topic, but does anyone know what’s happened to Harry’s Place (

  12. JuliaM says:

    Harry’s Place periodically goes down like a $10 whore when Hugh Grant’s in town.

    SarahAB on Twitter ( says it’s a technical issue. It’ll be back soon, I’m sure.

  13. Tim Newman says:

    My neighbour has a Land Rover and he told me he wasn’t driving anywhere for “Love nor money”.

    A million quid says his Land Rover is post-Series III. “Proper” Land Rover owners take delight in getting stuck.

  14. NickM says:

    It’s an ageing Discovery 3.

  15. As a Texan who reads this blog (and several other nasty Brit typists) regularly, I’m proud that I understood every word of this story. No googling required.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *