Gardening: Tool Box

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I AM old enough to have been chased, for 'stealing' conkers, by an Oswestry town council park-keeper armed with nothing less traditional than a besom. It was officially used for sweeping up autumn leaves. His modern counterpart drives a glorified vacuum cleaner. Such is the rake's progress.

The 26-tine Evergreen leaf rake from Bulldog Tools is making literally light work of this year's task. Don't be put off by its appearance. What looks like a rather cumbersome implement is very easy to use, mainly because it weighs next to nothing. The handle is an aluminium tube with a weatherproof epoxy coating. The actual rake is made of strong, slightly flexible plastic. Its tines span almost two feet, so each pull accounts for a lot of leaves.

The bad news is that Bulldog has just dropped this excellent rake from its range - but you should still be able to find one in a good hardware store or garden centre.

The good news? Essentially the same implement, but with a wooden handle, is now sold under the Premier label at pounds 15.99.

Bulldog Tools Ltd, Clarington Forge, Darlington Street East, Wigan, Lancashire WN1 3DD (0942 44281).