I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of friends the other day at an RSPB reserve; Frieston Shore. It overlooks the Wash, once you make the long hike towards the sea wall and concrete bunker that serves as a bird hide.
Trevor and Adrian have done a couple of excellent posts of the day, and by clicking on their respective names, the magic of the internet will magically whisk you to their accounts of the day.
At the risk of overkill, my post shall concentrate on my test drive of my latest acquisition to the birding arsenal ............. The Shopping Trolley.
A fine beast of a thing that should turn a few heads when out and about.
Sadly there weren't many heads to turn this particular day, we seemed to have the reserve to ourselves in the morning, but I'm sure in Asda, it may well induce a few stares.
But back to the trolley and it's first outing.
It does have a couple of surprises up its sleeve, one of which was an attractive selling point, but more of that later.
Firstly, the most important thing. How much does it cost?
Now, that has probably got your attention.
Twenty pounds is not a fortune, unless you're totally skint, homeless, or going through a divorce, and alongside some of the competition, it holds its own pricewise. There are a few cheaper models on the market, and also some more expensive ones, but we'll concentrate on this one for now.
Maybe when I'm older, I might try out a four wheel drive version, but I think somehow they are more suited to urban life.
Probably the first thing that is noticeable is its camouflage design.
Crucial when out trekking across the countryside; you certainly don't want to be drawing attention to yourself and scaring the wildlife away.
The bag itself, a zipper bag, serves like any other rucksack, except it follows you along, rather than cling to your back. It is also 'silver' lined.
This means, (according to the sales blurb), it 'keeps hot things hot and cold things cold'.
Perfect for when you take your sandwiches out on a days visit to the country.
Top loading, and a large capacity too, with plenty of room for a couple of flasks, mugs, rolls/sandwiches, and even apples if you remember to pack them.
So, to some of the more detailed points of The Shopping Trolley.
Besides the capacious main bag, there is a small pocket at the side.
Handy for small items like car keys or mobile phone.
A word of warning though. I wouldn't put anything too valuable in there, especially if the terrain is a little bumpy. They might jump out, and get lost. I kept a pair of gloves in mine instead.
A soft grip handle to keep your hands warm on a cold day, and also give a firm grip.
I'd still take gloves on a cold day though.
The wheels. Not your silly little mamby pamby townie wheels, these are verging on the monster size.
You'll notice the wheels are a little muddy in the picture. When you buy these 'shopping trolleys' they are clean. This picture is after it's inaugural test drive around Frieston Shore.
I'm a great believer in 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'; mainly because I don't have a clue what I'm doing most of the time.
That also applies to cleaning.
Besides, next time I take this out, I'll drag/pull it through some long wet grass, and the job will be done.
A closer look at the wheels reveals some pretty sturdy bad boys. They took the various terrain in their stride, although they needed some extra lift to get over the stiles that were on site.
No tread either, just slick tyres. This also reduces the need for cleaning. With no tread, there's no nasty mud to clog in the grooves and make things harder as you negotiate your way.
On the subject of 'negotiation', I found that when pulling the shopping trolley,
(as this picture, by Trevor, shows),
it was best to pull it slightly off centre as you walk along. This reduces the possibility of clipping your heels on the axle.
There is also a big red plastic clip on one side.
This is where The Shopping Trolley pulls ahead of its rivals.
A jiggle, and flick of the big red plastic clip, and it releases its awesome surprise, and big selling point.
Yes, after trekking for miles, what better than to sit down and enjoy the refreshments that you've hopefully remembered to pack inside the capacious zippered bag.
I think you'll agree, that this is more than just a Shopping Trolley.
It is THE Shopping Trolley.