I had an affair … with Felicity Kendal

Way back when King Arthur held court, I’m talking Scargill here, not him with the round table. I had an affair … with Felicity Kendal. To be fair she didn’t know about the affair, but my wife did. When Ms Kendal and that really ‘up himself’ Tom bloke were rotovating their lawn and making Margo’s life a misery the Pelletts (that’s us) were also strutting their stuff. We had goats, chicken, ducks, horses, dogs, doves, pheasants  cats, a log pile, a poo heap and the ubiquitous vegetable plot. We weren’t exactly self-sufficient more self-satisfied. We never crochet our own Wellington boots or turned bottle tops into buttons. We did produce eggs, milk, cheese, chicken, the odd duck, goat meat,vegetables, salad, copious amounts of cider, in fact it could be argued, (but not by me) too much cider. But I stopped at 200 gallons so I can demonstrate a modicum of self restraint…… I just know Felicity would have been impressed.

We even had the same rotovator as the Goods from Surbiton. A monster machine called a Howard Gem. We never got around to converting ours into a car. It was a great orange beast of a thing which was an absolute animal and when you got it started, it became certifiable. Once it got a grip and a bit of a speed up I was often left hanging out the back, having to break into a trot to get back in touch to change gear or stop the bugger. After time I got good at catching up, but not before the monster had hurled itself into the duck pond. I did try to let go, but a combination of pride, panic and forward impulsion ensured I joined it in the pond. Oh how I laughed as I sat there up to my chest in duck poo soup!

Another time I got the spinning tyres hooked in the lower strands of a recently erected raspberry wire, in less time than it took to say “what the ******”. it had wound yards of fencing wire around the tyres dragged a couple of fence spikes out of the ground and attempted to pummel them into kindling wood.

Howard (YES I gave it a name) was also prone not to start and I am also prone to not be having any patience with things mechanical. I have a limited tool box (I mean spanners) and an even more limited desire to read a workshop manual or to find out what a valve guide is. One morning after numerous attempts to get Howard to ‘wake up’ I finally flipped, with frustration boarding on tears I ran to the log pile grabbed a suitable bludgeon, ran screaming back and battered the bugger. What I did not know was that our neighbours (posh but nice) overlooked our plot they had an old aunt who was deaf and whilst she sat with her back to the patio window oblivious to the Neanderthal goings on in the background the rest of the family were being treated to a Basil Fawlty moment …..

Having got Howard back after its second , if not third trip to have ‘it sorted’ I thought it was time to let Howard go. I sold the beastie to a couple of old lads who asked all-sorts of questions about compression and stuff, I just pleaded ignorant, which was not far off the mark. But things got a bit tricky when Howard was being manhandled into the back of their lorry and mum in-law drove up, clambered out of her little battered mini and without drawing breath shouted to the new owner’s “has it broken down again”!

Years later we did actually sell an Ark to Penelope Keith, so can claim to have sold a chicken house to Margo Leadbetter. (name dropping, of course I am ……. get used to it)

Next time. Let me tell you about the time I got run over by my own dumper truck, and I was driving.