Sunday, September 07, 2008

I knew instinctively that this would be my rake

This morning I got Mick dressed and we drove to B and Q to buy a new rake.

Hanging up in the garden section were many Leaf Rakes and Garden Rakes.

Leaf rakes are mainly for gathering leaves and garden rakes are for levelling soil. I intended to mainly gather leaves and branches and apples, not to level soil.

None of the rakes were cheap so buying one of each was not an option. Well, not an option I could afford.

I didn't know what to do so I rang Polly up and she said "Just get one rake, a leaf rake." (This is paraphrasing. She said other things too like "Hello, hello, hello" because the answering machine kicked in before she picked up)

I looked at all the leaf rakes on their hangers. There was an excellent choice of rakes.

First I considered B and Q's own make of rake. It was retailing at £11.98. It had quite a narrow head, but other than this I was happy with it.

Then I looked at the other rakess. They were all retailing at £19.98. This suddenly threw new light upon the price of B and Q's own make of rake. Why were all the other rakes retailing at £19.98? What was wrong with B and Q's own make of rake that it only cost £11.98?

I went to B and Q's own rake and touched it with my hand. I lifted it out of it's hanging hooks but was suddenly overwhelmed with the possibility that a rake for only £11.98 would be a false economy when compared to a rake for £19.98.

I did a couple of rake tests. First of all I kind of jiggled it up and down in my hand, probably three times. Then I touched the end of the handle on the floor. I touched it once, then twice. Then I touched the end of the tines with my finger. I then put it back.

My tests had been pretty thorough and confirmed exactly what I had suspected - an £11.98 rake simply would not do.

I decided to investigate the rakes that cost £19.98. I took the widest one available off of the shelf and looked at it. The tines were made of plastic. This put me off. I thought it looked as if it would break very quickly. I put it straight back on the shelf. No further tests.

Then I looked at the rake that I was to purchase.

I knew instinctively that this would be my rake for three important reasons:

1) The rake was made by Wilkinson Sword, a company who are famous for making products that are brilliant at scraping. I didn't know that they made rakes too, but I was pleased to see a rake with a brand that I recognized.

2) The rake had a handle made of FSC certified wood and a sticker on it which said "10 year guarantee."

3) The rake was a rake that I liked.

I then looked at another Wilkinson Sword rake which had a carbon steel handle. I decided that I preferred wood because it was more natural and looked better - qualities that I was discovering were essential for me in a rake.

I then saw a rake for £4.98. It was an adjustable rake. It had a very short handle and one of the rakes was lying on the floor as if a customer had taken it off the shelf and thrown it down in disgust.

I reached for the Wilkinson Sword rake with a wooden handle, turned around to Mick, said "We'll get this rake," and picked the Wilkinson Sword rake with a wooden handle off the hanger.

As I picked it off the shelf I pitched it slightly up in the air whilst twisting my wrist to make the rake do a one hundred and eighty degree turn before catching it.

Cool moves, cool rake, cool guy.

As I walked off I spotted an enormous garden rake that I'd not noticed before. It was very wide - maybe 50cm wide - but in the shape of a garden rake. It was so gigantic that it stopped me in my tracks. I walked back to it and stood in front of it, staring. It was called a "landscaping rake". There was only one on the shelf. I looked at it in enchantment, thinking "that is a very very wide rake, probably the widest rake I've ever seen, maybe I should buy that rake then I will own the widest rake I've ever seen, and I will feel total rake happiness and fulfillment in a way I've never felt before." Unfortunately one of the tines was bent. As there were no other landscaping rakes available I decided to settle for my Wilkinson Sword rake with a wooden handle.

It now strkes me that I spent a very long time standing on a floor staring up at rakes this morning in a way that was reminiscent of Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters. Except with rakes.

It was raining when I arrived at home so instead of cutting the hedges I raked up all the windfall apples on our lawn. I made them into two piles on the garden.

As I raked I noticed that I liked everything about the rake apart from the way it felt as I raked and the way it raked things up.

I was suprised by this. Then I remembered that I don't really like raking.

After gathering up the apples in piles I put the rake back in the shed. It seemed very new and smooth against the darker, more weary woods of the older spades and hoes.


Unknown said...

This is a fascinating story about one man's quest for a rake, and - as you identify - VERY cinematic. You should pitch it to some of the big film studios. There hasn't been a decent rake movie for ages.

Anonymous said...

I have seen the rake. It is very good and worth the money, in my humble opinion. I used it to rake many tonnes of apples that the blogger had neglected to deal with.

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