So, you're getting yourself a cement mixer next Tuesday and you want to know the best way to look after it?

Cement mixer

A cement mixer is a great addition to any home and will thrive in most environments. They are equally comfortable in a conservatory or bedroom, make a great talking point when displayed prominently in your living room and will cheer up the cupboard under the stairs no end. But they can also be a bit of a handful, especially if you're unlucky enough to get a stroppy one. What would be useful is some sort of handy guide on how to make the most of this magical new addition to your family. Here we go then...

As we just mentioned in that bit you were just reading, a cement mixer will be quite content wherever you put it... almost. There are one or two exceptions. For example, never keep a cement mixer in your bathroom because it will inevitably make a mess in the sink and use up all your clean towels. Just as important is to keep your cement mixer out of the kitchen as it will intimidate your toaster and strike up an unhealthy relationship with the fridge.

Cement mixer

We're often asked what you should feed to your cement mixer. Well, chips, obviously. But apart from chips they enjoy an eclectic diet of washing up liquid, old spanners, rubble and rusks, VHS tapes (not Betamax), cheese and bubble wrap. In fact, you can throw pretty much anything down their necks but you'd be wise to avoid soiled clothing. They love it, of course, but it's likely to make your washing machine insanely jealous.

Cement mixers, as you probably already know, are pack animals and in the wild will hunt in groups of forty or fifty. Naturally they can be fairly boisterous and require a great deal of exercise. The National Centre for Cement Mixer Welfare recommends at least four six-mile walks a week for the average 3-10-year-old. Clearly this is unreasonable, so I wouldn't bother if I were you.

One thing that cement mixers simply adore is ballet. You wouldn't have thought it was possible for a dirty great cement mixer to leap nimbly from point to point, trip daintily across your living room carpet or perform spellbinding pirouettes, and indeed they can't. Obviously, that would be nuts. But they do love watching ballet, which is a pity since most of the more upmarket theatres refuse to admit them, so it might be a good idea to invest in a few DVDs.

Cement mixer

In fact, you may find that there are many places where your cement mixer is not welcome and you should get used to being turned away from restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. In this day and age it is shameful that so many boarding houses display 'No Cement Mixers' notices in their windows, and some leisure centres still ban cement mixers from their swimming pools because of the risk of contagion. This is an extremely ignorant attitude as it is extremely rare for cement mixers to carry disease, especially as ever since 1958 it has been compulsory to vaccinate your cement mixer against drum rot, rim fever and crusted mortar syndrome.

One reason why cement mixers are so often refused admittance to many places is because of the amount of noise they make. This is perhaps understandable. They can be extremely noisy, especially when they are revolving at full whack. What makes it worse is that they tend to do this at night - every bleeding night, in fact. It's enough to drive you nuts. Honestly, many is the evening that I wanted to put a pickaxe through its bloody switchbox. That's why I had to get rid of mine in the end - it was doing my head in. If you want my opinion I'd seriously think twice before committing yourself to getting a cement mixer. They're a pain in the arse. Anyway, it's your call.