Yes, your veritable howls of derision were heard this far south in French France when I casually displayed my penchant for repurposing items that were no longer of use.
On arrival here last December, one of my first tasks was to remove from the wall in the Gatehouse an offending cooker extractor hood that would actually literally leap out on every occasion that someone in particular, who shall remain nameless, came within a long acre (grassy roadside verge) of it and it would connect with the aforementioned person’s head, causing many expletives to be offered to the gods of all which is good and holy, in sheer frustration.
Having witnessed on a previous occasion how, when something offended Stephen, he would take a sledge hammer to it and remove all earthly trace from the four corners of this habitable surface, it begged the question why had he not done the same with the cooker hood?
So, on my deployment to these supposedly warmer and sunnier climes, armed with a screwdriver (the tool, not the drink) and a trusty hammer for anything that showed a moment’s hesitation or deviation from the prescribed plan of removal, I set forth and extracted the extractor from the Gatehouse and placed it to one side for future disposal.
A few days passed and with them, my previous thoughts of disposal. Never let it be said that I don’t hang on to all manner of useless artifacts that, in the fullness of time, will become exceedingly useful or needed in some form or another.
How very dare the back row shout “Hoarder!” I’ll have you know that when a box of wires were removed from my shed and taken to the waste recycling site, it wasn’t long after that, that I was being asked to do something which needed a rummage in that very box and never have I let everyone know, that my shed is not a hoarding location, but a treasure trove of useful items that will be of use, in some form or another, at some point, in our as yet undisclosed future lives.
As it happened, a new plan was formulated for the cooker hood’s rebirth – as a barbecue!
Yes! Armed this time with an angle grinder (and the hammer of course), I transformed the cooker hood into an article that would be of great use in the forthcoming summer – if it ever arrived which, after months of unusual rainfall and cool temperatures, the argument for global warming is looking decidedly weak.
I removed the inner workings of filters and motor, setting them to one side in case of future need, and then with a few deft cuts with the grinder, I created a monster, set it up in the centre of the courtyard and, with some dry twigs from the floor of the barn, made fire.
Now, speaking to every man who has ever had the challenge of feeding the five thousand at a summer garden party, sweating in manful fashion over the hot coals to satiate the ravenous gathered throng, you will know that giving your other half the day off from cooking is a rite of passage that for some reason often results in a less than favourable outcome as flipping burgers and sausages while EVERYTHING ELSE IS DONE FOR YOU is not seen as a day off by your beloved. Strange, but true.
With my December fire smoking in fine form, I took some photographs for posterity and declared that it was a job well done. #thatsanotherjobjobbed
Blessed if I could see anything to cackle at, but there you all were like a group of Cheshire cats, grinning from ear to ear and smirking at my efforts to waste not, want not. I have previously mentioned that I am not made of money, I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth and in fact, as the Chinese cracker I opened many years ago correctly stated, “Everything you receive in this life you will have to work for”. Nothing so far has proved that proverbial morsel incorrect. That nugget of truth has haunted my every attempt at winning the lottery as I’ve handed over my hard earned cash for the slip of paper with my preferred numbers thereon, which has then proven to be nothing more than an expensive firelighter.
So it was with at last some good fortune, I received an offer to meet at a house where the contents were up for sale due to the owner relocating to a different country and not wanting the cost of shipping everything, was selling up. I was on the hunt for man tools. On offer, a John Deere X165 ride-on lawn mower that would come in very handy as age withers and the years condemn my Yamaha YLM446 which has performed many stalwart years of invaluable service, but is now proving less and less reliable with some knotted string and duct tape holding it together.
Given that Charlotte has been away from me for 199 days, I might just have reverted to a single chap state where there are less fluffy patterned cushions and more sharp edges to my character as I de-evolve to caveman necessities. Grunting with the manly effort, on the day in question, I hitched the trailer to the Discovery 4 (LR4) and set out, metaphorically with my loins girded and a club (of cash) in hand.
Imagine my joy when the agent for the seller offered me the chance to have a look around to see if there was anything else I wanted! I was like a child in a sweet shop! Rummaging here and there and wondering what I could get away with purchasing, or at least, secrete in the Workshop Environment (posh name for the shed), for future revelation to be accompanied by such protestations like “Oh, look at that, I had forgotten we had that” type remark. Remarkable that neither of us could possibly remember which of us had originally bought said items either!
In the darkest depths of that garage I stumbled across a four burner Outback Ranger Barbecue, with weather cover and full gas bottle…”Was this for sale?” I queried. Apparently it was, so without knowing if it worked or really what condition it was in, a price was settled on and I became the new owner of the barbie. Worth a punt, worth a gamble I thought.
I can report then that it has been stripped, cleaned and rebuilt and I am happy to say it works as intended, so the earlier model that I painstakingly crafted, which caused so much mirth amongst the troops, has been usurped and is surplus to requirements.
Should I now dispose of it? What a question to even formulate!
I welcome your answers on a postcard (or in the comments below) if you have any thoughts on what I should do with the cooker hood. I shall of course immediately set it to one side and, in the fullness of time, another incarnation with your help will be found for it I’m sure!
Carry on regardless!