Santa baby

Santa baby, slip some bristles under the tree, for me
I’ve been an awful good boy
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Bristles? Yes, the sort that you find in an old-fashioned floor scrubbing brush. I’ll explain.

Being a tight-fisted git an economically thrifty individual, I like to give useful presents for Christmas. I think it also means a lot more if a gift has been hand-made rather than purchased, and as I’m a fairly practical sort of chap I can generally make just about anything without too much swearing.

Granted, some things I’ve made are rather over-engineered, but longevity in construction is a good thing, no? If something I’ve made lasts for 300 years I’ll be well pleased.

So, having given the matter some careful thought, I decided that as we would be moving to a very rural location in the not-too-distant future, an item which would make an ideal present for the Mrs would be a “welly washer”. You know, the type of thing that sits outside the kitchen door, and you simply wipe your mud-encrusted wellington-booted feet on it to remove all the mud. (Another advantage of this type of gift is that I’d be able to use it myself as well).

Yes, I could have bought one off Ebay. But, as I mentioned earlier, if I can save some money by making it myself – well why not? I have the plans drawn up in my head – all I need are four wooden scrubbing brushes. The old type with proper bristles, normally used for scrubbing floors.

Well, people obviously don’t scrub floors any more. For the past month, during our weekend grocery shopping trips I’ve been surreptitiously investigating the cleaning products aisles at various supermarkets – Sainsbury’s, Asda, and even the Co-Op. And guess what – not a scrubbing brush in sight anywhere. I’ve even checked out the little corner shop/post office without success. So today I took a walk to Morrisons. Forty minutes each way. The closest thing they had was a “vegetable brush” made of plastic, with short plastic bristles. And even those were far too small. Sigh.

Still, at least it wasn’t an entirely wasted trip. I bought a bag of sugar which was on special (I am currently in the process of making some sloe wine) and on the way back I managed to pick up lots of discarded cans.

I also found a discarded empty champagne bottle which will be pressed into service for next year’s cider brew. (Hah! Pressed into service – geddit?)

For lots of other money-saving tips why not buy my book? Go on, do! It’s available for the Kindle you know – and it’s really not that expensive!

Where was I? Oh yes. Bristles. Or the lack thereof. So, as far as the Christmas present idea goes, it’s on to Plan B I’m afraid. More details will follow after Christmas, as I’ve already wrapped it so can’t take a photo. Always have a Plan B, folks. Sometimes you need it. Oh – and for those of you who don’t think a “welly-washer” would be an appreciated gift for a woman, you haven’t met my wife. Walking in mud? Bring it on!

But I haven’t given up on the “welly-washer” idea yet. As for the scrubbing brush, it looks like I’ll have to make my own there as well.

Bristles? Where would I get some bristles? Hmm.

Coming soon: How to catch a wild boar and shave his whiskers.


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