I mentioned recently that I was thinking of ditching my increasingly useless electric hover mower and taking the logical retroprogressive step of returning to hand mowing. Reader, I have done it - and, reader, I am well pleased, indeed I wish I'd done it years ago (after all, I don't have that much lawn to mow). I took a look online at what was available, bought myself a cheap, lightweight hand mower [further details on application] and left the old Mow 'n' Vac by the front gate, inviting anyone who wanted it to help themselves. Amazingly, someone did, within hours.
My hand mower is easy to use - no electric lead to unroll, plug in and keep out of the way of the blades, no laborious manoeuvring around the lawn, just a gentle up-and-down stroll, with minimal pushing effort. It sounds better - a nice mechanical clatter and a satisfying rasp as blade meets grass - and it cuts better, trimming the grass rather than wrenching and tearing it. What's not to like?
Philip Larkin (whom I might have mentioned once or twice before on this blog) was a motor mower man - forgivably, as he had much grass to cut. One of his last finished poems was inspired by an unfortunate mowing incident...
The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed. It had been in the long grass.
I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Unmendably. Burial was no help:
Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful
Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.