The garden looks a tad neglected at the moment.
The hedges are the worst offenders but that’s because my hedge cutter is acting the bollox. I charge up its battery and the fucking thing cuts about ten foot of hedge before running out of charge and giving up the ghost. Seeing as I have a couple of hundred feet of hedge, that just ain’t gonna work, especially as it takes about nine hours to recharge.
Yesterday I decided it was time the rough grass areas needed a bit of strimming.
“Just gonna head out to strim along the roadside” says I to Herself, “If the fucking strimmer isn’t broken as well, ha ha!” I like my little jests.
So I took out the strimmer, topped off the petrol tank, primed the carburettor, set the choke, switched on and then gave the starter rope a good sharp pull.
I nearly sprained my wrist.
Yup! The fucking thing had seized up.
Now this confused me. Logic dictated that it couldn’t have seized as it was working perfectly last year and I am always careful to use the right petrol mix. How could it turn from a functioning motor into a block of solid metal? I decided to take it apart.
The first problem was that the casing was held on with those damned hexagonal screws that are ubiquitous these days. I found a way of removing them and did so. Next I had to remove the sparkplug. This wasn’t so easy as it was recessed so I needed a proper spanner to do the job. My adjustable wrench wasn’t going to cut it this time. Also it hadn’t been removed in the twelve or so years since I bought it and I knew it was going to be tricky.
There are a few old wooden boxes lying around the garage and they are full of ironmongery that is so old that they are all rusted into one solid lump. There are bolts, hinges, nails, screws an spanners and a load of things that have no apparent purpose. I rooted through them and eventually found a spanner that actually fitted the plug. It involved removing a deep crust of rust but what the hell.
I removed the plug with the help of some sweat, some leverage and a dose of WD40, and could now see the top of the piston. I gave it a poke and it moved a fraction of an inch. It wasn’t seized. Good news and bad news. Good news in that I didn’t need a new motor, and bad news that it still wasn’t working.
I don’t know what gave me the idea, but I decided to look at the other end – the business end where there is that bit of plastic string that whistles around and does the jobby. It was locked solid. I managed to disassemble it and spent a happy few minutes removing grass that had wound itself around the bearing and was packed as tight as steel. I had to hack it with a very sharp knife and a screwdriver. I tried pulling the starter rope again. The engine turned!
I reassembled everything, refilled the tank and tried again. It worked perfectly.
I spent a happy half our out on the road strimming the verges and the worst of the overhanging brambles. I chatted with a couple of neighbours. A motorist asked for directions to Greystones so I sent him up the mountain to The Bogs. I inhaled a healthy dose of exhaust fumes and pollen and plastered myself in shards of grass, nettles, dock leaves and a bit of a Christmas tree that someone had dumped in my ditch. One of my neighbours takes his strimming seriously and wears protective goggles, a fucking hard hat [why the fuck?] and ear protectors but I don’t bother with any of that crap. The only concession to safety is that I wear a luminous waistcoat and that’s only to scare the shit out of drivers who come speeding around the bend and slam on the brakes, thinking I’m a speed trap.
“What took you so long?” Herself asked when I went back in.
I sighed. She has no idea of the genius that is her husband.