As I totter towards senility, the list of things that I am prepared to do myself is dwindling. Some activities I must confess to being relieved to relinquish. Believe it or not (and I struggle now to believe it) I used to happily do all painting and decorating, putting up shelves, electrical wiring and all things to do with nails, screws, brackets, hinges and wires.
As some of those things got more technical and/or arduous and my income allowed it, I boosted the local economy by hiring professionals.
The majority did better jobs than I would have done. Some were as rubbish as me, but that’s another story. In the garden, I used to mow, cut hedges and tidy up, leaving the creative stuff to the female members of my family.
In other words everybody else.
My creaking and ample frame now makes hedges and their maintenance a task too far and fraught with osteopath employing potential. Tidying up involves too much bending. Ouch.
So my dear old English-made ride on mower remains my sole active connection with the Baker Towers wild outdoors. This week I mowed our grass within a centimetre of its life. We like to call it grass. Horticulturalists might argue that the majority of what I mow is vegetation of an entirely different name. But mowed, it looks fine.
I then drove in behind the bushes to my tipping point (without any help from Ben Shephard). I backed in and the wheels spun on the rotted grass underneath and after many minutes of trying to extricate the machine I had to concede defeat; especially when my wife and brother in law’s added muscle power failed to shift the recalcitrant brute. ‘No problem’ I reassured them. ‘I’ll tow it out with the car.’
Clearly my mechanical engineering skills were not sufficiently honed at school. I tied a rope to the front of the mower and the tow bar and gently pulled it out. I couldn’t see behind me, so failed to see that what I was in fact doing was turning the mower over and spinning it onto its side into bushes and nettles.
Stout hearted local builder friends effortlessly restored it to its wheels the following day and I have bowed to necessity.
I shall mow but I will not tow. Well not without completing a risk assessment. I never thought I’d say that!