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Saturday, 6 April 2013

One Man Went To Moan

Continuing the story that began in I Want To Be A Lawn

I'll never forget my first attempt at serious lawn-mowing in this environment.  It was a beautiful summer's Sunday afternoon and I volunteered to mow the front lawn.  This was foolhardy for two reasons (1) I would be in full view of all of the nearby houses and, as the newly arrived spouse, would no doubt be the object of some interest, and (2) I had been to the pub for my regular Sunday lunchtime session of crib and a pint or two (are you beginning to see a pattern developing here?)

There really should not be anything difficult about lawn-mowing, but I managed to find it.  I had the greatest difficulty in keeping the power lead away from the business end of the mower.  Every time that I completed a length of the lawn, I seemed to have the cord wrapped around my legs.  Thus, I was constantly revolving in an effort to free myself of its amorous, and entirely unwelcome, embrace.  It took me quite a while to figure out where the cord needed to be, and which way I needed to turn to keep it there, by which time I had pretty well completed the task.  My wife came out to, thankfully, do the 'fiddly bits' involving the edging shears and I collapsed into a heap of nervous exhaustion in the living room.  Seeing one of our neighbours across the road, she popped over for a chat.  When she came back, she told me that our neighbours "had been laughing uproariously at my efforts to mow the lawn and they hadn't been that much entertained for years".  Oddly enough, she failed to see why I didn't find this encouraging.

I can only presume that I had managed to disgust the lawnmower with my efforts too, as on the next occasion when I dragged it out for another all-in wrestling match (for the back lawn this time, I wasn't ready for that embarrassment again yet), on clutching the start handle it gave a sort of apologetic cough and all of the innards fell out in a neat pile underneath.  It was one of those situations where it is impossible not to do a double-take.  I remember standing there looking in amazement and disbelief at the pile of cogs and blades, whilst hopefully turning over the mower in the hope of finding something still there.

Those of you who have been following my stories for some time will know of my lack of practical skills and will not be surprised that this dearth was made very clear in the early days of my marriage, when my protestations that I was fundamentally useless were still taken as endearing modesty rather than a stark warning. 

As I was unable to do anything other than point in appalled wonder at the collection of scrap metal that had been our mower, the lawnmower and its entrails were taken off for expensive repair by the local tradesman, who could obviously see in me the pathway to a comfortable retirement.  But my ordeal was not over yet. 

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.