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Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Barbie time! Death to flying ants!

Yes, it’s that time of the year when the rusty old barbeque gets wrenched out of the impenetrable cobwebs at the back of the shed and dusted down for an evening of foodie fun and frolics around the glowing embers and charcoal flavour sausages.

I haven’t got a barbeque so my neighbour went out and a got one from the local garden centre and left me in charge of the assembly. Why are you smirking?

Yesterday morning, already sweating from the heat and suffering with a slightly strained back I lugged the box into my living room and tipped the many and various parts onto my living room carpet. All in all there were 21 main pieces to assemble and 50 nuts, bolts and washers all set to confuse me and make a visual mockery of the illustration on the assembly instructions. First of all, I realised that I would need spanners and asked around my neighbours, none of whom had any. A quick trip to Mr Perkins the perky provider of everything a village hardware shop could possibly offer meant that ten minutes later I was now the proud owner of a set of spanners for a mere £3.99. I got down on my hands and knees prepared for a lightening quick assembly job.

Two hours after that I had got the first leg attached, well loosely attached, well loosely attached on the wrong side. By mid –afternoon I had lost my temper with several cheeky nuts and bolts and the Deluxe Oval Steel Trolley BBQ was now resembling a bad car crash and I was convinced that the remaining parts were breeding behind my back. I checked the next stage of the destructions – sorry, instructions.

Step 3 – Attaching windshields.

3a. Attach left windshield (8) to firebowl (1) with M5 x 10 bolt (C) and M5 nut (D) at left two holes.

3b. Attach right windshield (9) to firebowl (1) with M5 x10 bolt (C) and M5 nut (D) at right two holes.

3c. Attach windshield (8) & (9) together with M5 x 10 bolt (C) and M5 nut (D) at median hole.

3d. Attach windshield (8) & (9) together with M5 x 10 bolt (C) and M5 nut (D) at top hole.

I wanted to kill that ‘median hole’ as the whole windshield kafuffle was splaying out like a big toe in a bad attack of foot cramp and it took a mighty amount of force to push the bolt through the two holes and secure a nut (D) on the outer rim. And anyway, what the buggery is a median hole when it is at home?

Five ‘simple’ steps later. Ahem, more like aeons later, I finally fitted the wooden handles and proudly stood back to view the assembled BBQ. It looked good. I now needed a cuppa and to go to the woods for kindling. The weather was baking hot in a muggy way. Even the butterflies and insects were wilting.

Off I trotted in my summer shorts, lily white legs exposed for the first time this year, and came back with a big sack full of small twigs, dried grass and several scratches around my knees and swollen nettle stings itching my calves. I was also dripping wet from the sun and went and had a shower. Get your self a beer for the full virtual BBQ experience that follows. Ready?

Here comes the food bit and the manly lighting of the BBQ. Those years camping with the cubs and boy scouts stood me in good stead and impressed the neighbours no end – those that could see me for the thick smoke that is.

BBQ lighting instructions ( devised my me)

First lay dry grass in BBQ tray and cover with bits of dried twig. Split open bag of BBQ coals and empty on top of twigs. See a flying ant and panic. Completely over –react and send BBQ coals skywards whilst shrieking like a person having electrodes attached to his scrotum. Pick up coals and look around nervously for more evidence of flying ants. Tuck in three BBQ fire lighter cubes for instant flame effect. Enjoy oily paraffin odeur. Strike a match and thrill to sight of flickering flames. You are almost there.

Once lit, waft fire like a person possessed. Use a plate or cutting board to fan flames and watch garden disappear in a cloud of dense grey wood smoke. Identify neighbours by coughing and swearing sounds and rapid getting in of clothes from washing lines.

As wood and grass burns, gently move coals about to ensure spread of hot coals. Keep beady eye out for more flying ants (I hate them). Flames and smoke should be dying down. Do not apply petrol or other flammable liquids at this stage.

Open bottle of cold beer. This can be done at various stages of fire lighting and is an integral part of the process. Swig beer, belch and go “Ug, my fire!”

Lastly, to complete the best BBQ experience: rely on friendly neighbours to have prepared brochettes and other nice things to eat, cook on BBQ until pitch black and enjoy more beer and convivial times swatting insects. Feed the cat with leftovers.

Happy barbeques folks.


allnottinghambasearebelongtous said...

Sounds like a damn fine day!

KtShortcake said...

hhmmm... sounds familiar? oh yes! thats because I went through pretty much the same thing!!! Damn those flying ants!!! :)

Nick B. said...

If you were trotting in your shorts at around 5.30pm yesterday then you were spotted - by a maniac cyclist heading past the White Horse...

French Fancy said...

That barbie food looks lovely. Don't worry - it will get easier. I'm with you on the over-reaction to flying insects though - I always keep one eye on the air around me and one eye on my food and drink - that's why I always drop and spill everything down me.

Phil Lowe said...

NickB: sorry to disapoint but I was wafting like a good 'un at 5.30 p.m.

French Fancy: I've added a picture of our 'friends' the flying ants today. I don't why I get so upset about them but I do. The food was lovely and the company of my neighbours, Anna and Joanne.

Phil Lowe said...

Allnottingham: It was

KTshortcake: Ah, so I'm not the only one then. Yes damn them all, the little short lived devils of the air.

Cheryl said...

He, he, all that hard labor was worth it considering the wonderful food your neighbors brought over. What a delicious looking spread! But wow - woods for kindling? We just buy it from the grocer's over here.

PS - lucky cat!

Phil Lowe said...

Cheryl: Yes we have some woods near the local park and I just collected the dried twigs as kinderling bits.

StGeorgeOfEngland said...

I am disappointed Phil. As a male you are supposed to leave the instructions aside and THEN make a complete hash of putting it together. You should know that instructions are only there to fill out the packaging.
The food looks great. I have to admit that I am a dab hand at the BBQ cooking but do not get the chance these days. Maybe I need some neighbours like yours, and a garden...... and a BBQ ....... and some food.... Hehe.

Phil Lowe said...

Good to have you back Guy and 'yes' I am a sad excuse for a male because I should have discarded those instructions aa you rightly say. Hehe.

StGeorgeOfEngland said...

Well instructions are totally usless to a man, it is one of our quirks. Another one, that I am guilty of, is not using road names or important landmarks when directing people about. I use pubs. Turn left at the White Lion, off the roundabout by the Robin Hood etc...