Three (wo)men and a Barbecue – a tale of woe

We recently bought a larger barbecue to replace the small two-man jobby that has seen us through the last seven years.

It has fared us well, we bought it from Homebase for the princely sum of about £15. I think they still sell them now and I wouldn’t hesitate recommending one.

small 2 person barbecue

Our faithful friend of 7 years

We’ve just outgrown ours (plus we left it out over winter). Anyway I ordered a new one from Tesco Direct, we’d got £42 in Clubcard vouchers and I found a decent barbecue that was half price at £75.

The service from Tesco Direct and their delivery company Arrow was great.

We were kept informed of the delivery date and time and they called an hour before delivery.  When it arrived it was on a large lorry and there were three men.  I started to panic but it transpired that two of the men were there to open the lorry door while the other did the job of actually delivering the barbecue to our house.  The delivery man even carried it out to the garden for us which was just as well as it weighed a bleeding ton!

There the barbecue languished over night before I decided to tackle putting it together….

Front page of instruction booklet

Front page of instruction booklet

I’m not shy of a bit of DIY, I was bought up by a single mum and we’ve always done our own decorating and furniture building.

There have been times when we have come to blows, I won’t deny it. We once built a wardrobe/chest of drawers/dressing table combo and quite frankly she nearly ended up buried in it more than once. Needless to say she popped round to help, or interfere – you decide. To be fair I have no chance getting any of this sort of thing done with the two Ls knocking around so help she did. Then my friend asked what I was doing, I explained and said That she was more than welcome to swing by. She turned up at 2pm just as I was about to start.  She came armed with 3 cans of Kopparberg, a pack of chocolate brownies and a strawberry gâteaux. She’s a good friend.

I opened the box housing the barbecue.

There was a lot of polystyrene and what can only be described as the most vague instruction booklet known to man. You know Ikea instructions? Worse than that!

Contents of bbq box

Contents of box

Some parts were numbered… Most were not. How hard could it be? We went in. After an hour I requested the cider. A further half an hour passed and it became apparent that one can of cider was not nearly enough. Two hours in and one lost screw later the three of us were desperately trying to fit a part in the middle.  It was impossible.  I was convinced that we’d been sent a dud only to discover I had in fact put the two sides on the wrong way round. This was from one of the first stages, two hours earlier. Up until that point I hadn’t sworn.  There were children present.  But that alone warranted the “mother fucker” I hissed while contemplating  whether I could return the half made “dud” barbecue back to the nice man from Tesco Direct?

Instruction booklet for BBQ

Seriously? You call these instructions?


Between the three of us we decided the best course of action wasn’t to take the whole thing apart

but to dismantle as little as possible while still rectifying our (ok my) error. Seriously the instructions really were not specific.  It was now that I received a phone call that sent me into a blind panic. I  spent an hour and a half sifting through 10 months worth of un-filed paperwork and Big L’s school drawings looking for a non existent MOT certificate. All the while my mum and friend continued building the barbecue.

When I went back to the garden the two women were shadows of their former selves and the barbecue wasn’t finished. The vents on the sides were loose, but “must be meant to be like that” and the top wasn’t on. The cider had long gone. Most of the brownies consumed and there was less than half a strawberry gâteaux left. My friend was muttering something about throwing the barbecue into next door’s garden and my mum was requesting fish and chips (she’s been a vegetarian for 25 years). It was now 6pm.

BBQ half finished

The (almost) finished article

Vince came home to find three women close to tears and two very hungry children

sitting around a three-quarters finished barbecue. My friend and I took the decision to go and get a well deserved take away, a stop at the local fish and chip shop and onto McDonald’s (no fish was consumed by the vegetarians amongt us). The afternoon was topped off nicely when my friend got out of her car with Big L’s Happy Meal and his burger fell out of the bottom of the box. Oh, and it’s forecast to rain now. FML

ETA The barbecue is now complete, but rain is still forecast. Happy days!


Enjoy the attempts (and cider) as three women attempt to build a barbecue #barbecue #bbq #grill #cider #diy


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