Friday 22 April 2011

Wheelbarrows - an endangered species - and Grockles . . .

We have had a dilemma with our ageing wheelbarrow this week. Bought when we still had the horses, it has served us well in stable, paddock and garden. Until this week, when it finally collapsed with the iron tubular support broken in two (rust). Finances are tight at present - we checked out the cost of a replacement - the smaller less robust started around £35 (and wouldn't last 5 minutes here, with our loads of stones, logs, muck heap etc which we wheel around.) Others were between £45 and £55, with the top of the range (the sort we needed) £99.99!!! I nearly fell into a swoon when I read that price tag, I can tell you. Anyone would think they were an endangered species, for heaven's sake! Anyway, that got OH into action, and he managed to find some metal tubing which turned out to be soft enough for him to cut with his metal-cutter, and he had soon mended the wheelbarrow - until another bit gives up!

You can tell it is holiday time. The Easter holidays have brought the Grockles to our part of Wales. Grockles are what we called them in Hampshire and Dorset. In Devon I believe they're Emmets - what the Welsh version is I don't know . . . They are a pain in the butt though, either driving too fast around our narrow country lanes (single track with passing places mostly), or too slowly to look at the scenery, or they get lost. I encountered the first lot a couple of days back, meandering along the bottom lane by the river, without a care in the world, the bloke driving not bothering to pay attention or look in his mirror (and notice me behind), waving his hand and arm out of the window until I thought he must be going to turn right into the river! Anyway, he obviously didn't know where the heck he was when he got to the junction, so he signalled right and then pulled over to the left, right across the end of the lane leading up the valley side. I passed him. On the way back, I found the car (4x4, natch!) parked on my side of the road by the gate into our neighbour's fields. The driver's door was wide open, radio blaring for the benefit of the wee wifey sat inside whilst her husband and two children were "exploring" my neighbour's fields, ducking through a gap in his hedge instead of the gateway 3 feet away and heading for the river. I guess this comes under their "freedom to roam" mindset. The fact that their car was blocking the carriageway and I had to drive into the layby opposite to pass them (and obviously where they could have parked) had simply not occurred to them.

Then today, whilst I was out by the front gate planting up chunks of hollow tree trunk (Willow) with Geraniums and Nasturtiums, two cars (obviously holiday-makers as the cars were CLEAN!) approached, and the woman driving the leading car gesticulated as if to say, "Where's the road?"!!! I walked across to her and asked, were they lost? Oh no, no, but the Sat. Nav. had brought them here and they didn't know where to go now. I asked where they were headed - "Freshwater East" was the reply. Hmm - beyond Tenby in Pembrokeshire. They were a bit wide of their mark here. . . "We need Carmarthen," she said (she must have been boiling in that suit jacket . . .) I told them, up the hill, and first left and follow the lane along until you reach the A40, then turn right for Carmarthen. She looked confused still, "But which," she asked, gesticulating again, is the road?", pointing to two of Next Door's 8-cow highways beside our lane. How I kept a straight face I don't know, any more than I know how I resisted the temptation to send them up to his top fields . . . I wonder if they've found Carmarthen yet?!


  1. The visitors are a lot better behaved in Somerset LOL

  2. Have a kook on Mother Earth News and some of the other US based homesteading magazine websites. There are plans for "garden carts", made from plywood, metal tubing and old bicycle wheels.

    A little study and stock take and you may be able to adapt the plans to your needs.

  3. What we call them here is slightly ruder. They often walk through our fields even where there is no footpath. Yesterday we watched from a distance as four walkers walked through our grass (which is growing well for silage) and then bent down the wire fence to get across, not even considering pulling it up again afterwards. Had we not gone over and done it then next door's cows would all have been over.

  4. WG - no footpath on G's land either . . . And he had sheep and lambs in there. Fortunately they DID shut the gate. Glad that you noticed the people "straying" on your land . . .

    BST - thanks for that, we'll check it out - we need something fairly substantial as it's used for carrying rocks, big logs and soil about the place.

    Kath - we've never been that aware of them before - must just have a "bad batch"!!!

  5. I too need a new wheelbarrow, and gaily set off to the agricultural merchants with £25 in my pocket a couple of weeks ago. I was absolutely horrified by the price. Some fancy ones were nearly £200 !!!
    Needless to say I came home empty handed and am dragging things around in dumpy bags :(
    As for grockles, I find myself unable to say anything polite at the moment!