Friday July 8, 2005
Well, I’ve done my anger, and shock. I’ve done my ranting and cursing. I’ve got over the urge to say that, if there’s a public stoning when they catch the criminals I’ll be first in line with my half-brick. The one with the very sharp corners. And now, like people all over the Kingdom, I’m getting on with my business. That’s the best weapon we have against these evil people, our flat refusal to allow them to divert us more than momentarily from our daily lives.
We will catch them. Right now the full resources of the UK intelligence agencies and police, along with our friends and allies around the world, are bent to the task of identifying them, poring over thousands of miles of CCTV footage, and millions of hours of intercepted phone calls. We will identify them. And, when we identify them, we will find them. When we find them, we’ll bring them to book and lock them away for a long, long time. I’m not really sad that we don’t do public stonings any more. Not sad at all, though I have to say there’d be a gratifyingly biblical feel to it.
Right. On with life, leaving the experts to do the business, and pausing only to support the mourners as they shed their tears, adding mine to theirs.
* * * * *
Keeping the grass cut here at the little house in the fens is no problem, not usually it isn’t. Graham pulls out his hunking great petrol mower, yanks the cord, fills the air with the roar of a healthy engine and, no more than thirty minutes later, the job is done and there are two sacks of mowings waiting to go to the recycling centre.
When Graham’s not here, though, we have a problem. The petrol mower is far too heavy for me to manoeuvre, and yanking the cord to start it is right bang in the centre of things I dare not do if I’m to keep my back in reasonable order. So, until now, the grass doesn’t get cut when Graham’s not here.
“We ought to sign up with a grass cutting service,” Graham said.
“Ok. I’ll check.”
Several phone calls later I returned to our conversation. “I am not, repeat not, paying some idle layabout thirty-five quid a week for half an hour’s work.”
“Yes,” I said. “It’s worth a gosh.”
“What are we going to do about it, then?”
“I want a lightweight electric mower and I’ll do the job myself.”
“Well, alright, if you’re sure. But we’ll have to go look at a good range of them.”
“Come on then. Let’s go.”
And that’s how come we spent a happy hour in B&Q this morning, pulling out one chunk of grass cutting machine after another, me wheeling them up and down the aisle solemnly, and checking the operation to be sure I could handle it. Eventually, much to the relief of the attending servotron, we settled on a very effective model made by Bosch. Called the Rotak 400 for those who need to know these things.
Back home Graham did his thing, pulled our purchase out of the box, assembled all the bits that would assemble, cursed the bits that wouldn’t, and then tried it out. He took two or three passes over the back lawn, leaving a very nicely mown swathe of perfectly cut grass, complete with classic English stripes.
“I’m really rather impressed with that,” he said. “Even if it could be described as Barbie’s First Mower.”
“No it’s not,” I said, pushing him aside and taking over. “It’s a Lady’s mower.” You have to have seen Little Britain from the BBC to appreciate the allusion, and to be here fully to wonder at the perfection of my rendition of it.
“Yeah. Well, push off out of the way, then, and let me see how I do.”
I did remarkably well. The thing does a good job, and it’s as light as a feather. By emptying the hopper frequently and using four rather than two bags to hold the clippings, I managed the task without strain, and with only four or five rests between sections. It took me two hours rather than Graham’s thirty minutes, but I felt good about it.
“Right you are,” I said. “Now when you’re away I shall be able to keep the grass cut without any bother. And the exercise will be good for me.”
“You’re on,” Graham said. “Just so long as you promise that you’ll stop immediately if you feel at all strained.”
So that’s how I spent my day, getting on with it, and ending up with neatly cut lawns and four bags of fresh grass clippings to show for my efforts.
You can stick that up your jumper, Mr Bin Laden.
|It’s a lady’s mower
with apologies for the unseemly nudity in the leg region