It’s summer time on the island which leads on to that epic battle between the grass and my weapon of choice. Being June one would expect that the sun would shine and I could stroll along with my little electric mower, producing those smart, neat, thick lines that speak of a well tended cricket pitch-like lawn. Welcome to the Isle of Lewis. It’s been raining on and off so an electric mower is out of the question. No worries I have a petrol beast. It’s actually been quite warm. Well warm for Lewis. Certainly no ice. And so the grass is sprouting and I reach for the green blade eating machine.
Hold it. Not tonight! They are out! The midges. Tiny, little and very evil flies (or possibly hell-hounds) that get into every orifice and munch your delicious skin until you scratch that very human covering off yourself. No amount of nets protect and clothing cannot truly ever cover all of one’s self. Leave it a night.
Okay. five nautical miles per hour wind so the hell hounds have retreated to their bushes. Take out the mower, fuel her up, yank the rip cord. Calmly wait while last year’s oil is taken through the system and emerges in a choking grey plume to blow across your face! Cough bravely. Cut the grass.
It’s then you notice. Dry on the top, wetter than the ocean beneath. This causes the machine to grind to a halt every five yards as it cannot generate enough suction to remove the wet grass to the collector. Feel your arm muscles improve with each pull of the rip cord. Then swear loudly as the rip cord brakes. Then as the mower does go forward ever so briefly watch the back wheels spin on the wet grass so that it is only your physical effort that keeps the heavy beast going forward.
But the worst is the uneven surface causing the blade to occasionally catch the surface and cut deep into it. The motor invariably fails to protect itself and we have to pull the ever diminishing rip cord again. Why did we think we could make a lawn out of a moor!? Maybe a roller would do it. The size of the unevenness makes me suggest the roller would need to be the sort used on motorway construction!
Still nights are drawing in. Soon be snowing and I’ll have my perfectly flat, even and very white lawn. Greens overrated, I love winter!
Originally posted 25 June 2014 on Blogspot