The neighbours woke us up today. I’m sure that was not their intention, but they did anyway. I like to sleep late on a Sunday. So does my wife. That is hard when you sleep with the window open and the neighbour decides that today is the day when that big old tree in the back yard has to come down. Start the chain saw massacre. At 08.00 on a Sunday?
He must be mad or deeply insensitive.
My wife was not pleased. She got up in a foul temper. “Idiot”, she said. “Why now?”, she asked. I had no answer for her. Which made me his accomplice. Mia culpa. Like it or not.
After her morning coffee and toast, she began staring out the door at the stupid, unfeeling neighbour. It didn’t help.
I decided, that as the day was ruined anyway, I might as well keep the promise I made myself and mow the lawn. I hate mowing the lawn. I cannot think of anything I would rather do less than mow the lawn. Mowing the lawn is the very last thing I really ever want to do. I have to do it. But I never want to.
Off to the woodshed then, to bring the lawnmower out of the mothballs I put it in last year at the end of the lawn mowing season. Now, it isn’t like you just get it out of the shed and then go mow the lawn. Oh no. You have to prepare the blasted thing first. I drained it for fuel last year and packed it in a plastic tarpaulin to protect it. It is a new machine. Only been started 4 times in its life. I checked the oil level. OK, no problem there. I carefully poured 95% unleaded fuel into its little tank and screwed the cap back on. Out into the sunshine with it then, and prepare to start up. Check the handbook. Page 4. “Starting the engine.” Choke full on. See illustration 3. OK. Lift the throttle bar on the handle and hold it up while you pull the starter cord. See illustration 4. All pretty straightforward stuff. OK. Here goes. Heave. “Duh-duh-duh-duh”. Says the machine. It should say “Brrrmmm”. All I got was Duh-duh-duh-duh. Heave again. Harder. “Duh-duh-duh-duh”. Repeat. Repeat again. After countless attempts I am a frothing, sweating, extremely angry animal.
My temper is not good when I have been rudely awakened on a Sunday. Today is no exception. My day is ruined, my wife thinks I am in cahoots with the stupid neighbour and now the bloody lawn mower, which is only 9 months old and worked well the last time I had to get the thing going, says only “Duh-duh-duh-duh”.
“You useless piece of bloody scrap iron on wheels bastard machine. Start you piece of crap!” Heave. “Duh-duh-duh-duh”. Heave. “Duh-duh-duh-duh”. More profanities. I don’t care if it is the Lords day.
Finally, red faced and mad as hell and now being taunted by the neighbours child, who wants to hear me swear some more, I storm off to find tools. Major mechanical surgery is obviously required to solve the situation. I have a wide selection of spanners and wrenches and things. I was a fitter once, so I know the value of a good tool set. Would you believe that the spark plug on my lawn mower is not a standard size? Not one damn spanner or wrench fitted and the adjustable version couldn’t reach down into the narrow and extra-specially confined, expertly designed and machined space that the non-standard spark plug sits in. Back to the tool room. Which is a long way from the woodshed. Finally I found what appeared to be a spark plug tube spanner and went back to the now hated machine. Yippee. It fitted. Spark plug successfully removed, I began to investigate the inner workings of the machine. The plug was wet, so fuel gets to the cylinder OK. Does it spark? Connecting the HT lead to the plug and pulling the cord while holding the base of the plug against the frame should give me a spark. Or a high voltage shock. Neither one was forthcoming. I dried the plug. Tried again. No joy. “Goddamn lousy motherf***ing machine!” I cried. The neighbours kid is jubilant. His vocabulary is growing by the minute. This is the final frustration. I give up. Reassembling the lawn mower, I decide to take it back to the hardware store tomorrow and beat the guy that sold it to me about the head with it. I packed up my tools. I returned them to the tool room. Back to the dead lawn mower. I kicked it and hurt my foot. Which helped, no end.
Before absolutely giving up, because I’m a stubborn, mean old sod at heart, I pulled on the cord one final time. “Brrrmmm” said the machine. “What the Hell…?” I don’t understand it at all, but hey, I’m in business. No longer saying the dreaded “Duh-duh-duh” thing, it now says “Putt-putt-putt”, and the neighbours kid is heartbroken. Look out grass, here I come. Fifty times up and down the garden in the searing spring sunshine on a Sunday morning and not a dry eye in the area. Tears of joy, and sweat in buckets, I am finally mowing the bloody lawn. What a sense of achievement!
I hate mowing the lawn.