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We've just bought a Billy Goat … I 'kid' you not!!! Yes folks, I'm NOT joking! We are now the proud owners of a non-hairy, motorised version of the above-mentioned animal. The name is just so cool, not to mention the fact that it can hoover up many things, I just had to write a review to tell you all about this strangely-named little machine!
Mum's in spring-cleaning mode at the moment, and she's on a mission to clean up everything in sight. She gets like this about once or twice a year. Once about Halloween/Christmas time and then again about now, in springtime. She starts in the house and then moves outside towards the garden/driveway area.
Over the past few weeks she's been nagging at dad to tidy up outside as the garden does look a bit of a jungle. It's been full of rubbish, including old leaves, plastic bags, tin cans and crisp packets. God, I'm making us sound like the Royle Family. We're not that bad though…. Honest! I mean, we don't have old mattresses or three-piece suites decorating the front lawn! However, even I have noticed that both the front and back of the house has been starting to look like the end of a long day at Primark, if you know what I mean.
Dad trawled the Internet for ages and price-matched loads of different models and he finally came up with the Billy Goat Multi Vac Outdoor Vacuum (Model SV50H). Prior to this, he'd invited nan to what he called a "nice day out". He took her to BHS for her dinner and then afterwards he took her to B&Q to see if they sold anything any cheaper. There was method to his madness mind you, as it was Wednesday and every Wednesday at our local B&Q pensioners get 10% discount on their purchases. Unfortunately, dad couldn't find what he was looking for, so he dropped nan back off at home and came back to order what he'd originally settled on - the Billy Goat SV50H.
There was a huge variation in prices, depending on which site you order from. We got ours from www.justlawnmowers.co.uk and it cost us £1285.00. It's a massive amount of money, so dad kind of persuaded my Uncle Tommy to go halves with him, but as Uncle Tommy doesn't have anywhere to store it at his place, it was decided the best place to keep it would be in our garden shed. I reckon dad was being just a little bit devious as he knows we'll be using it far more often than our poor old Uncle Tommy. The price included VAT and free delivery and it was delivered really quite quickly - in about four working days. We had to wait a bit longer though as dad had ordered it on a Friday night, so we had all the weekend to wait too.
Nan just happened to be at our house the day the van turned up and the two blokes lugged it up our driveway. Dad pulled it straight into the garage as it was raining and he didn't want it to get wet - we laughed at this, and mum pointed out to him that it's designed to get wet as it's able to work just as well at picking stuff up in both dry and wet conditions. Anyway, dad disappeared for an eternity in the garage and mum kept on calling him to come in for tea. He did eventually, and she went crazy as he actually carried it into the porch and left it in the hallway, as he said he was cold outside in the garage, it was getting dark, and he still hadn't finished reading the instructions properly.
Nan was really impressed. She was very confused though, as at first she thought dad had bought her one of those little motorised chairs to sit in. We explained to her (several times) what it was, and she finally seemed to understand. When dad wheeled it off the carpet it left some big dents, and mum shouted at him that it wasn't supposed to be "in the bloody house", and to take it outside. It weighs 162lbs and the wheels had left grooves where it had stood and mum was not impressed! It's quite large at 29" width, 48" high and 62" length, and as our hall is quite tight, dad had no option but to take it back to the garage.
It's described as being "as quiet as a lamb and as tough as a Billy Goat". This made me laugh the following day when dad tried it out for the first time. It sounded like a plane was landing in our back garden. Dad said it's supposed to be the quietest model in the range, but I reckon you need earplugs when you use this thing. It has a 5.5 HP Honda OHV GXV Engine and is hand propelled. Then dad got an awful shock. It wasn't until this stage that he realised that this particular model doesn't come with the hose kit as standard. He looked through the box again and then rang the company to ask why it had been delivered without a hose kit. They explained that this has to be ordered separately at the grand cost of £110.00! Dad was livid. He was even more livid when the woman on the end of the phone asked him if he's like to buy some more fuel as she said it needs to be changed after a few hours' use! They had supplied a little bit, but not much!
Dad went stomping about the house for a bit then phoned Uncle Tommy and asked him if he wanted to go halves again .. this time on a hose. Uncle Tommy wasn't in so dad just put the machine away in the garage and went to the pub for a pint, shouting that he's just been completely ripped off! Anyway, mum tried to persuade dad to send the thing back, but dad stuck his heels in and ordered the hose kit and then used it in the garden properly the following weekend. He was outside for ages and ages. He was grinning like a Cheshire cat as he went all round both the front and back garden, picking up all sorts of stuff, from tin cans, leaves, newspapers and even broken glass. The bag which holds all the rubbish is very large and seems to hold an awful lot of debris. It seemed to be easy to remove and dad just emptied everything into the big bin ready for the dustbin men to collect the following week.
A couple of days later however, disaster struck when one of the castor wheels broke off while he was pulling it about. Apparently, you can buy 'extra' ones for £95 but dad wasn't having any of this. He phoned the company up and ranted and raved down the phone about how he wanted his money back as the wheel should be a lot more hardwearing than they appeared to be. The lady on the end of the phone sent him a pair of replacement wheels free of charge (as a 'gesture of goodwill' she said) and this calmed dad down a bit.
We've had our little Billy Goat now for a fair few weeks and dad continues to go outside at regular intervals to suck up leaves and rubbish that's blown in from other's gardens. He says it saves him bending over as his back plays up now and again. Even mum has had a go and she seems to be impressed too. I think if you asked dad if he'd recommend this, he'd probably say yes, simply to save face. But if he was honest, I don't think he's been as impressed with this machine as he'd hoped. It's proved to be a little unreliable in terms of the wheels falling off and he wishes he'd checked about the fact that it came without basic stuff such as the hose attachment. It also goes through the oil petty quickly so isn't as cheap to run as he'd hoped. Added to this is the fact that it was quite expensive at well over £1000.00. Uncle Tommy has still to have a turn, but I'll let you know what he thinks just as soon as he can prize it away from dad!!