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Saturday, 30 March 2013

I want to be a lawn



I have a confession to make.  A couple of weeks ago, I mowed the lawn…there, I've said it!

I know, I know, therefore it's all my fault that we're up to our armpits in snow and ice again.  I don't know what came over me.  It was just a sunny, warmish day with a hint of spring in the air and it occurred to me that if our two year old grandson went out to play football on the patch of grass we laughingly call a lawn, we would probably never find him again.

I'm not actually very good with a lawnmower, but it's probably the safest option when it comes to me being let loose in the garden.  Anything else and I'm a one-man trail of destruction.  I think it's something in the genes, my dad was exactly the same, although he would never admit it.

I remember one night of shame, way back in the 1970s, when he and I had called in at the pub on our way home from work and spent a little longer there than was really sensible.  It was a warm summer's night and still quite light when we got home.  Mum had been nagging dad for some time to weed the top patch of ground so that she could plant out some seedlings she had been nurturing.  As we made our way down the entry to our house, dad said we should get on and do that now, as it would be a nice surprise for her.  Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time, as these things do when you have had far too much to drink and not enough to eat.  We set to, removing all the bits of greenery in this patch by hand.  It took quite a while, but we felt vindicated when we looked at the fruits of our labours, a nicely cleared patch of ground and a pile of green spindly shoots.  I'm sure you've probably guessed by now that mum had spent the whole day weeding that patch and planting out her seedlings.  You may also have guessed that we were not very popular for some time after that, although dad took most of the heat as he should have been able to spot the difference between seedlings and weeds, whereas my ignorance in that area was widely known.

When I had a place of my own, my 'garden' consisted solely of a patch of grass that I could look down on from my bedroom window, if I was so inclined (most of the time, I wasn't).  This meant that the appalling state of this savannah was only really a problem for my neighbour below who really had no choice but to look out on it.  I had to walk past it to get to my car, but that was as far as it intruded into my life.  Every now and then, when it became impossible to get to the rotary clothes line without a guide, or when my cat could vanish without trace in the waving fronds, I would get out my one concession to garden tools (a strimmer) and hack away until it was partially tamed.

Therefore, when I first got married and moved to a rather nice estate in a (as the Estate Agents say) 'much sought after local village', I was shocked and dismayed to find that I was now responsible for the upkeep of not one, but two lawns (front and rear) and that my wife had strong views about how tidy these should be.  Edging shears edged their way into my consciousness for the first time.  There was a proper lawnmower with grass box and everything.  It was all rather intimidating, as I'll explain next time.

This story, and a whole host of others, will feature in the next compilation "A Kick at the Pantry Door", coming soon to a Kindle near you.  If you can't wait for that, you can always console yourself with the two volumes already published, Steady Past Your Granny's and Crutches for Ducks.