Every year the moment arrives when a glance out at the garden and lack of precipitation brings about the realisation, “time for the first cut of the lawn”. This year, as indeed last year, the severe winter weather put that moment off for quite some time but it’s inevitable, the grass will grow, the son will demand his footie pitch and you just couldn’t take the families grief if the dog went missing one day (we do have a particularly small dog).

In the short walk to the shed my thoughts turn to the tool of choice, to be frank neither fill me with optimism. We’ve an inherited hover that really no longer hovers it just sits growling above the grass and intimidates it to cower under it, hover having moved on the grass whispers “it’s all clear” and it miraculously springs back to life. That’s one annoying feature, the other is the requirement to have shoulders like a young Schwarzenegger to compensate for the lack of hover.
There is a lot more bovver with this particular hover mower, the only bonus feature is that it does collect the grass.
The second option brings anxiety of its own especially for the first cut of the year. As the grass is particularly lush and long it’s really too much for the Hover. My fallback is the petrol engined Briggs & Stratton “old reliable” purchased over 15 years ago.

It started life on a small holding I owned and over the years has performed heroics. There’s nothing this little muncher won’t scythe down. This scrappy-doo of the mower world has defied the owner manual (wherever that is now!) as I’ve only ever put oil in it once and year after year I just quench its thirst with unleaded and it duly does its job.
The downside of “old reliable” is that it makes a big noise, well big is an understatement. Try twelve Harley Davidson’s racing through a tunnel and you’ll be getting close.
Noise polluter it is and technically I’m sure I should wear ear defenders along with goggles and body armour when using it. The rear guard fell off years ago, it doesn’t collect the grass it just shreds and mulches it and I’m awaiting the moment of pain when it pings back at me a shard of wood or stone.
So I’m now faced with the cobwebby shed contents two contenders but really only one decision. “Old reliable” gets a slurp of Esso’s finest, the rubber button gets three pushes to feed the engine and with a firm grasp of the starter pulley I yank it….cough! Try again cough! Splutter! cough! a third, this time with real meaning and yes…the smoke puffs out of the engine, small backfire pop and it’s waking the neighbours (should be up anyway 10.00am on a Sunday!)
So for yet another year “old reliable” saves the day and whilst I’m pacing up and down attempting the variable green stripes of Lords my mind invariably wanders. You can’t help attributing human qualities to such a faithful yet occasionally temperamental tool.
How many relationships do we have where we rarely trouble the person until we need them? We know they’ll be there, we know they’ll not question us they’ll just do what’s asked of them offer support and a shoulder if required. Note to self, don’t take those relationships for granted, who knows they may need help some time and wouldn’t it be good to be the “go to person”.
Just before I set off for the next edition – Lawn Story 2, “With Briggs & Stratton – no one can hear you scream” just thought I’d enquire….anyone want to buy a hover “muscle” mower? Doesn’t cut much but gives you a great upper body workout.
“Old Reliable” A Lawn Story

2 thoughts on ““Old Reliable” A Lawn Story

  • 5th April 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Hi David

    The dog is what my dad would call a “wee sandwich filler” (Don’t take offense – he’s always like that and gets away with it most of the time.)

    Is it time for a new gadget to cut the lawn???!! Surely there’s an app for that :-)And I don’t mean dump old reliable friends and get new ones by the way! (Although I suppose you could say that your relationship with your hover-mobile isn’t working!)


    • 21st March 2013 at 1:59 am

      Oh my goodness! an amnziag article dude. Thanks

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