When I arrived at the cottage I bought various essentials from the vendors. These included a gorgeous Mountfield lawn mower. Not a ride on affair but the punchy, self propelled, elbows out Mountfield Emperor. The previous owner had it parked on the lawn at a natty angle. I was seduced in an instant.
The water table is high here. Within a few days the grass was shaggy. I had moved in with my mother on tow. She looked up from her breakfast and suggested that it could do with a trim.
Desperate to show off my new acquisition, I sauntered out to the barn to fetch the mower. Navigating it out of its parking space and through the barn door required Herculean strength. As I had been some time in the barn, my mother was concerned. I thought I’d quieten her by switching the brute on.
There was no key. Just a long cord that one pulled to activate the motor. I suspected that this would be a problem. Planning to distract my mum, I came indoors and made a pot of coffee. She was reading the newspaper, in small polite snatches. She explained that she couldn’t really settle until she heard the hum of the mower.
Once before, I had tried starting a mower with a cord. Without success. I didn’t want my mum to discover that I was a wuss. She would worry.
I drained my coffee and strode out to the mower. Closed my eyes and pulled the cord hard. Within a micro second I knew that the cord had been tailor made for a large gorilla. As the machine clucked and wheezed I could feel my mother’s concerned gaze. Embarrassed and enraged, I wrapped the cord around my hand several times so as to trick the beast into thinking I had the longest arms in Cambridgeshire. I threw myself back and it roared into action. I glanced back. My mum’s nose was pointing towards the comfortable arm chair, coffee cup and paper in hand.
Four hours later I crawled though the back door and dialled John Coe’s number. He has mown the lawn ever since.
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