"..a bardy view!"

There’s no Accounting for Turf…..

I recently had my garden turfed. A beefy guy and his young apprentice came round with a lorry-load of new soil and a contraption for clearing the old stuff.

Mr Beefy subsequently disappeared for three hours, leaving his young, rather scrawny charge, to do the heavy duty work. 

The poor lad was soaked in sweat as it was one of the hottest days London has seen in many a year. I don't think he was very experienced at the job, so it's just as well I stuck around to offer him words of wisdom.

He said to me that there was one part that he couldn't reach, because there was a tub full of rubbish in the way.

"That's not rubbish" I said "It's a compost bin!"

"Yeah?" he retorted "But it's full of teabags and vegetables and stuff!"

"I know! It's a compost bin!"

Anyway, I suggested that he should not bother himself because when his elusive boss returns, he'll spread it on the soil – "from the bottom" I hastened to add.

Eventually the wayward Mr Beefy, somewhat relaxed, appeared with his lorry of turf.

Enquiring about his lengthy absence he justified it by saying that he had to go all the way to Ascot for it.

"Ascot! That's 30 miles away!"

"I know. But its the only place to get it guv, it's the best!"

"I think you've been to Wembley Stadium and nicked the new Astro-Turf" I replied with a wink, "I'm not planning on holding the Wimbledon finals on it you know!"

Well, he was an amiable jolly chap and much bigger than me, but it occurred suddenly that maybe he'd gone to the races. (Well – he may have been confused and gone to a turf accountant!)

"Good lord guv'nor – there's no races at Ascot this week".

"Really, has the Queen been informed?" 

Then it crossed my mind his attire would certainly not have gained him entry to that particular event and that he'd probably been to The Royal Ascot Pub a couple of miles away, and decided on a long lunch, and maybe the turf came courtesy of the landlord!

Well, lets face it, some folk need a couple of pints to see them through the day, and with all fairness, he never flagged after that. There's something about the British handy-man which permits them some cheeky allowances, and piss-taking is par for the course. As long as the job is done, and done well, we tend to overlook these peccadilloes.

"Any chance of a cuppa, Guv? And some water for the sprog?"

The "sprog" by this time was looking decidedly peeved, and I thought he was going to go on strike. Considering the little tyke had done most of the hard graft, I wondered exactly how much of the cash he was going to receive.

Maybe he'd like some tea as well, I suggested.

"Bleedin' 'eck guv – 'e wouldn't know a Dargeeling from a Formosa Oolong! Give im a coke if you've got one!"

I was left wondering whether this was a redundant cabaret turn which I'd inadvertently selected from the classified ads of "The Stage" rather than the local free rag.

I ended up paying him £50 more than the agreed price, due to being convinced by this entertaining pair that the job had hidden challenges, as well as a degree of sympathy engendered by the one playing the role of the downtrodden half of the act.

I paid up, on the proviso that if the grass didn't grow I'd be round at the ticket office of the Drury Lane theatre looking for a refund!


June 23, 2009 - Posted by | London, United Kingdom


  1. Always a joy to read here. Sounds to me like you may have been struck by a paper moon.


    Comment by drifter0658 | June 23, 2009 | Reply

  2. You get the award for the first person to make AJ chuckle today! There does seem to be this unspoken agreement when getting “work done” in the UK that it will be done to the “do-er’s timescale” rather than the “payers”.


    Comment by AJ | June 24, 2009 | Reply

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