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Student Barbecues

Well, today was a nice enough day, so my housemate and I decided to have a nice barbecue. The only problem was, we didn't actually have a barbecue, and being students, we're naturally loathe to go and buy one. So we took it as a challenge to try and build a functional, safe barbecue, without spending so much as a penny.

First, we needed something to hold the coals. The house next door to us has been abandoned - no-one has come or gone from there in at least two years. And lying in their garden, in plain site from our own garden, lay a rusted wheel rim from a car. Perfect.

Between our garden, shed, and the street outside, we managed to conjour up three bricks. These would hold the wheel off the ground. Buried deep in our shed, behind broken chairs and a disused bed, we found boxes of ceramic tiles - perfect for a heat-proof base, to keep any fallen ashes off the patio. To stop hot coals falling through the gap in the middle of the wheel rim, we bent double and hammered flat a rusted old baking tray from our own kitchen.

Things were starting to take shape, but we still needed fuel, kindling, and a grill. In our living room, we found a stack of junk mail addressed to past occupants of the house, now long gone. Ideal kindling! A fallen fence near our house proved a great source of thin, easily broken wood for the kindling pile, and an old shelf from our shed provided some thicker wood. And while looking for something to break the wood up with, we even found a half-full bag of charcoal! We managed to break our way through the thick plank with a hammer, breaking long pieces off and snapping them with kicks. (Karate-kicking wood into pieces isn't as hard as they make out, when you know how!)

All we needed then was a grill... on a high shelf in our kitchen, we found a shelf from an old fridge. It was plastic coated, but with the craft-knife blades from the side of our washing machine, we were able to strip off all the plastic.


And presto! A fully functional, remarkably efficient barbecue, for a grand total cost of £0.00. We didn't even pay for the hammer, razor blades, or matches.

Dinner tonight - Spicy beef steaks with grilled onion and tomato and grilled toast, with barbecued banana-splits and ice-cream to follow, and a pint of Fuller's London Pride.


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