I don't buy much. I'll bet that you don't, either. I don't think, on the whole, that gardeners do. Combine a pastime that needs little in the way of equipment with the fact that I hate shopping (really, really hate) and you have before you someone who is remarkably cheap to run. Faced with a new tool, I consider whether something already exists in the shed with which I'm happy to Make Do. And there generally is.
You've probably noticed that it's possible to Make Do without a lot of the gardening equipment that shops would like to sell us - twine tins, seed tins, metal spikes with string wound round to make straight lines, and a growing variety of differently shaped trowels.
Some, especially of the latter, must be useful, but useful enough to justify their purchase? Probably not, in my book.
Thus, in the past, when I've seen a scoop amongst gardening equipment, I've passed on. I'm perfectly capable of balancing a ridiculous quantity of compost on a trowel, and I have another hand to clutch it with just before it tumbles off the edge.
However, I'm also sucker for a reduced price. Last month I came face to face with a compost scoop at the our local market. Stainless steel, ash handle, Wilkinson's Sword.
It was £2.99.
Then I bought it, using the "barely more than a cup of coffee" criterion (do you do that?).
And I'm so pleased. I had to fill a trough (for the mesembryanthemums) and did it in half the time. Soil stayed securely in the scoop, not scattered around the pot. Bonus discovery - £11.99 usual price.
Husband, who refuses to perform a task unless he has the correct tools for the job, is hoping this discovery will have far-reaching effects (it won't - just because the scoop is great, it doesn't mean we need that weed-puller).
But I do wonder what other tools I might be missing out on. Is Pippa Greenwood right, for example, about that odd little hook that she praises to the skies? Are there any that you've discovered that you absolutely wouldn't be without now?