When Tom, our neighbour from up the hill and soon to be father of two, invited us to his place for a BBQ we thought, great, great way to catch up with our good friends a crack open a beer for the New Year, brilliant. Now pretty accustomed to the Southland BBQ we rummaged through the freezer for some decent sized slabs of meat and slapped them in a old ice cream tub, preparation, done! For those of you that may be reading this in, say, London, Paris, New York or any other city or town where supermarkets are two a penny and pretty handy, meat is done a little different down here.
First of all you generally, knew the beast, cared for it, fed it, moved it between paddocks or at the very least, and in our case being the big city sissies that we are, were, are.......anyway, at the very least you know someone who cared, fed or regularly moved it, a few months prior to it eventually makes its way to the grill. The second and perhaps most obvious point of difference is that they really don't care what it looks like, its meat, it ain't meant to be pretty! Oh no, long gone are the days of water filled, plump, carefully portioned and exquisitely presented mince and trimmed, symmetrical and perfectly sized for the discerning diner steaks from Asda. It's a dead cow..... chop it up, whack some cling film round it and Bob's your uncle! However, the third difference is that it tastes sooo much better!
Anyway, I have strayed somewhat from the point. Innocently, we arrived at said BBQ, irregularly sized steaks in the ice cream tub which we to the cook, Tom, and sat down for a beer or two. Things continued quite merrily. Tom's cooking was to an excellent standard, there was, as expected, a ton of meat, of various kinds and a completely irrelevant and largely untouched salad.
It was only when we were all very pleasantly full and mildly intoxicated that Tom's heavily pregnant wife, Katie, disclosed the true reasons for the festivities. There was, in fact a piano that required moving!! To make room for the imminent addition the upright piano was to be moved out the room, across the kitchen, through the pantry, across the garden, over the road into the paddock and be relocated in the workroom!
Buoyed on by the raucous Chardonnay swilling female crowd, the testosterone took over and muscle it we did. Four burly chaps, one on each corner, lifted, dragged puffed and panted our way through the trick chicane of the kitchen and pantry and breezed across open expanse of the garden to the gate. It was a scene not dissimilar to that of the old PG Tips adverts and their famous chimps. Pretty exhausted by the effort, although all of us were trying not to show it, we looked despairingly at the not altogether short distance between the house and the workroom and the rather rough looking path and gravel road which would not allow use of the piano's inadequate wheels.
It was then we saw it..... Tom's tractor, yes the tractor, the tractor was the answer. Operating heavy machinery would allow us to maintain our masculine pride and prevent the need to break out into an unsightly and completely unnecessary sweat or run a risk of pulling a hammy!
With Tom at the helm of the powerful blue beast and forks lowered we carefully and ever so precisely moved the piano into position. At this point the sensible thing to do would be to find some rope or straps, not that hard to find or particularly rare on a farm and secure the piano. That would be the sensible thing and for that very reason, not what we did. Instead, Gerry and I positioned ourselves precariously on the prongs and held the piano in position. Not that we would have been able to hold the thing in position anyway had it moved, but I think it made us feel better.
In a scene that would have given a health and safety inspector a heart attack and killed them on the spot, we trundled across the public road, perched on the 2 inch wide prongs of a large tractor 10 feet in the air holding onto a really heavy piano!
I am pleased to report that I am still alive and in one piece as are all of the removal experts of Garston. We were lucky, it all turned out okay, but there is a lesson here........ If you are ever invited to Tom and Katie's for a BBQ, find out why before you say yes.
Just another night in paradise!!!!!!!