Have you ever wished you hadn’t tried to save a few bob, (and with it the embarrassment, loss of respect and the sight of disappointment in your partners eyes!) but instead just gone down the tried and tested route? Well I think, maybe Mr PB may just wish that!
Now it's fair to say that all I ever wanted was a lovely rockery at the bottom of the garden in which to plant my mini alpines and ferns? Well it couldn’t be that much to ask for could it, not from my capable Northern husband?
So after much extensive and serious ‘man research’ (or procrastinating according to me) seems he made the outrageous discovery that the average rockery rock costs about £3 from the local garden centre! As an engineer and closet ‘tight git’ he rapidly estimated that the 50 rocks required for said rockery would cost £150 of our hard-earned cash! In all honesty he’s not miserly, but he does like to shop around and grab a deal so off he went to Google ‘rockery stones’ while announcing that any money saved could go towards a new sun lounger for me, in which to relax whilst admiring my new rockery.
Anyway, a brief scan of Google yielded immediate results! To his delight he’d found a supplier offering ‘Rocks at £20 per metric tonne’, so hastily calculating that the 50 rocks would roughly weigh 1.5 metric tonne, he excitedly dialled the number, ordered the rocks and arranged delivery for the very next day! £30 for the lot…now that’s a bargain! So Mr PB, feeling extremely smug and clever and with a skip in his step and a lightness in his wallet couldn’t wait to find me and to fill me in on how much cash ‘we’d’ saved by his thrifty ways.
The next day quickly arrived and with delivery iminent, excitement was bubbling in the garden. There I was poised, gardening gloves and trowel in hand with all manner of pretty colourful little plants positioned with preciseness just waiting for their rocks to nestle next to them. We saw the lorry turn down our road, reverse onto my drive and then with absolute astonishment I realised just what he'd bought…
As we stood wide eyed in confusion and disbelief, the man pushed a lever and the back of the lorry started to tilt........we watched in horror as a gigantic single rock the size of a small car was ejected , smashing onto my drive leaving some flags cracked but others in bits! Now it was at this point, I crucially realised that maybe Mr PB hadn’t perhaps asked enough questions when ordering his 1.5 tonnes of rocks!
‘£30 mate’ he said with a casual air, my kids giggling uncontrollably as they looked from the rock to me and then back to Mr PB as he quickly handed over the cash. I'm sure he was thinking that he'd just play it cool and pretend that this object (clearly visible from space) and now on his pulverised drive, was exactly what he had in mind! But as the lorry pulled away, you could see he was considering the options of how to deal with the comet that was now sat on our drive.
As luck would have it, he wasn’t too devastated about the drive or what was left of it. In fact this was because along with the rockery he's investing in a few other garden improvements including a new drive. Besides he'd already arranged for a local flagger to come to look at the drive and give a quote to rip up and re-lay new flags. Thing was we just didn’t yet know how he’d be able do the job with a 1.5 tonne ball of rock in the way, which wasn’t going anywhere, anytime soon?
So the weekend came and so did the flagger and still the rock had refused to move, despite my constant berating and cajoling of Mr PB! At frst sight the flagger surprised us if I'm honest and truth be told he wasn’t exactly what we were expecting him to be. No, this was a wiry little guy who stood about 5ft 3in tall, skinny as lat and probably weighing 9st wet through! Suprised by this, I craned my neck to see if he had the ‘real flagger’ hiding inside the back of the van performing bench-presses, whilst snacking on protein bars and waiting for the ‘nod’ to get started? But no, this little pocket rocket of a man, was clearly on his own and so we could only puzzle at just how he would be able to swing a sledge hammer around all day and lay flags?
As he walked towards us, we couldn’t help but notice how the comet that lay on the drive had ever so slightly distracted him. However, choosing to ignore this, we got straight down to the business in hand and discussed the various options, price and timescale for the new drive. Funnily though throughout the discussion, Mr PB said that he kept getting the feeling that he didn’t have his full attention and could see that the 'flagger's' distracted gaze kept continually drifting over to the rock! Now, talk about an elephant in the room…well this elephant was well and truly plonked on our drive to be precise!
Finally and having finished his measuring, curiosity finally got the better of him as he asked quizzically ‘so err, what’s with the rock? He was a man of few words. So Mr PB with more than a tinge of embarrassment and a hint of pinkness in his cheeks waffled his way through the sad sorry tale and confessed all. Now 'Flagger' without an utterance walked straight to his van and returned with the mother of all sledge hammers clasped in his wiry little hands. Mr PB, it's fair to say, looked a little startled as it seems he didn’t even know that god had created a hammer of this proportion and size. Secretly I'm sure he wanted to have a ‘go’ but then decided against it as there was a strong possibility he wouldn’t even be able to lift it off the ground, let alone above his head!
Without fear or hesitation ‘Super Flagger’ leaped on top of the rock like a gazelle and with every ounce of his power proceeded to smash the rock with his hammer. As the sweat started to pour down his weathered, ruddy face the boulder was seemingly unimpressed by his efforts. The air was full of tension whilst me and Mr PB watched with bated breath; however not so much as a chip flew off Mr PB's 'substantial' investment. In the chaos my thoughts turned to how could Mr PB make a 1.5 metric tonne rock and a smashed drive appear attractive to a potential house buyer, when we eventually want to sell in a few years time?
Almost at the point of surrender, suddenly and without notice, the rock started to submit to the force being administerd to it and began to split as the flagger continued to mercilessly pummelled it. Mr PB gazing on in wonderment at this heroic flagger and then at me spontaneously bursting into a round of applause at his efforts. Secretly I'm sure Mr PB was thinking that this little fella was clearly much more of a ‘man’ than he was, having in 17yrs of marriage never managed to excite his wife to the point of clapping! As if by magic and a few seconds later, dozens of perfect rockery sized rocks fell from the large mass and lay all over the drive, I'm sure this was just the image that Mr PB had always intended!
And so, victorious.. the flagger stood over his prey like a lion over a fallen zebra, body drenched in sweat, not even a smile of satisfaction cracked his grizzled face, he was like the god of all things stone, which to us he was! He shook Mr PB's hand, took his sledgehammer, agreed a day to start the drive and disappeared, as silently and as unassumingly as he had arrived. As he drove off into the distance, Mr PB and I were left admiring our beautiful rockery stones, with warmth in our hearts and very nearly a tear in our eyes!
With mission 'rock' now accomplished, over the next few days Mr PB laid his rockery and it soon became a vision of loveliness and was much admired by our neighbours, this I like to think was mainly due to my efforts if I’m honest! For his part, Mr PB though was left feeling slightly troubled by the fact that his calculations had been slightly out and that as a result we'd been left with a few too many perfect little rocks for us to use. Now this was a waste and Mr PB doesn't do waste, so what to do with them? Then while considering all the options, in a momentery flash of inspiration he had a brilliant idea…
So .. in next weeks local advertiser you'll find a tempting advert.....
'Rockery stones for sale…£2.50 a pop, buyer to collect!' ...
.....Now that my friends is what I call a 'Result'