Wednesday, March 22, 2017
After the warm, almost springlike weather yesterday, it's a really miserable sort of day. I'm really glad I cut the grass yesterday because today it's pouring with rain. Infact it's a good deal colder and we have the central heating on. I refuse to call that patch of grass a 'lawn' because it's nothing of the sort. A lawn is reasonably good quality grass, cut with a mower which makes the traditional stripes. Think Wimbledon tennis (I don't as I'm not a fan, but you know what I mean.) I suppose I mean what we see when we visit a National Trust property and go into the various gardens attached to these properties. Indeed, as a young man living at home, particularly Malting Farm, I was usually in charge of mowing the lawn. I wasn't over-keen about having the job, but you had no choice. You did what your were told and just got on with it. I can actually think of nothing more boring than mowing a lawn, walking up and down, pushing the benighted thing, which wasn't always eager to start. My father was particular about the thing, making sure you checked it for oil, and then having to fill the engine with two-stroke petrol. To this very day I don't understand what is meant by 'two-stroke' petrol. How does it differ from any other petrol? We had to go to a local petrol station with the can and get it filled before I could put the petrol in the lawn mower before I could even think of mowing the lawn. Then check the oil level with the dip-stick. I suppose it was good that I was instructed on how to properly care for a petrol engine, but it was a bit of a chore, all this fuss and bother. There was a large garden at Malting Farm, Cardington, and my father was somewhat particular about how the lawn was mown. It was done with a traditional lawn mower, you know, petrol-driven, you had to empty the bucket think on the front which caught the grass as it went along. Not many up-and-down lengths before you had to stop and empty the thing into a wheelbarrow and when that was full, push the thing the length of the garden to the pile that grew exponentially at the other end of the garden. Compost heap was the word I was looking for. It gave off a very distinctive odour. I don't know what happened to it. It steamed gently. Mysterious. I expect this compost was used to bed in plants, act as a sort of fertiliser. Anyway, I'm drifting from my main subject. What I'm attempting to say is that the grass patch at the rear of this house is more like a quagmire, particularly when it rains. It's excessively uneven, which makes cutting it much more difficult. It's tusky and difficult to cut, even more so if it's slightly wet. I don't think our electric, rotary mower was made to cut such poor quality grass. More likely intended for even, flat lawns, at those houses with pocket-handkerchief sized gardens and even smaller pieces of lawn, made of nicely rolled, tended turf, purchased for some garden centre such as Frost's at Woburn Sands, or Dobbie's or even Wyevale. The mower at Malting Farm was one of those green Atco models. It had a detachable bucket on the front and you had to pull a cord to get it started, making sure you didn't flood the engine otherwise it wouldn't start. It was something of an effort to pull that cord-thing, which had a sort of wooden cross piece handle and the cord sort of re-coiled itself after you'd pulled it. It began to really hurt every muscle in your pulling arm after the sixth or so attempt.