butt2Thinking back, I was about eleven and sitting sipping coke from a glass bottle, through a straw, while my dad supped a pint of light and bitter as he chatted to the landlord of our local pub. There had been a shoot that day and he’d ended up with a huge pile of pheasants. They’d already been plucked and the pub owner was busy out the back gutting them. 

Behind the beer garden was a track down into the woods and the fields beyond, from which his two teenage sons appeared, they grabbed a spade from the veg bed and with just the words “Stuck again” disappeared back down the path.

My dad and the landlord Aubrey, which always seemed to me rather a camp name for such an earthy lion of a man, explained that the boys had been off rabbiting with their Jack Russell, and as they are wont to do, the dog had gone into a burrow after a rabbit, but then having tried to reverse out of the hole had jacked up on her haunches, got stuck fast and needed digging out. She apparently did it quite often.

This memory came to me today as I found myself stuck head first in a water-butt.

Last week I found that said butt was empty. At first I blamed Little Boots. There is a case history for this – a popular game is to attach a hose and fire water all over the garden, but no, I realised that the tap was leaking and it had all dripped away. The munchkin may actually have been responsible for this as fettling with the water-butt is a favoured occupation. So I emptied the last of the water out of the thing and inverted it so that all the black muck and guck at the bottom would dry out.

Today I set out to sort the tap on the thing, squeezing myself inside and easily tightening up the nut behind the tap. Job done.

But that wasn’t the end of it.

I couldn’t get out.

It brought on visions of being found hours later either dead, or suffering from heatstroke and exhaustion.

Eventually, by reaching forward, with both arms, dropping one shoulder, and wiggling a lot I managed to get out.

David Blane eat your bloody heart out.

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