The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

The first lawnmower

man and mowerWhen 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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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Mildred,

    Yes, mowing the lawn is good exercise.

    John Coe helps me here as I am hopeless at mowing and make a mess of it. He also does all the edging. So even if I haven’t had time to tackle the borders the garden looks cared for.

  2. I am really enjoying your earlier posts – and the photographs! The mowerman here is wonderful!
    Isn’t it funny how quickly we forget about lawn mowning duties throughout the summer months when we are busy raking leaves up in the autumn? I always view this garden task as ‘Good Exercise’ . . . it means I can eat a thick slice of bread, butter AND jam without feeling (too) guilty 🙂

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