I decided to take the proverbial bull by the proverbial horns yesterday.
It was time to cut the grass.
The latter had reached the stage where it was a bit embarrassing. Cat was finding great difficulty navigating and had to make great leaps in the air just to orientate herself and Penny was refusing to crap on it and was reverting to dumping on the front gravel again.
Anyhows I topped up the petrol and oil tanks and wheeled the tractor out of its garage. I had charged the battery fully so having kicked the tyres I sat in and started it up. It fired all right after a good bit of grinding so off I trundled onto the front lawn.
Having arrived on the lawn I lowered the blades and engaged the clutch to spin up said blades. Nothing happened. Fuck!
I knew what had happened as it has done this before – the drive belt had slipped off the pulley. Bugger! It is a right pain in the hole to get the belt back on as first of all I have to access it. The only way to do this is to sit the tractor up on its arse so it is pointing vertically. I can then access the underneath which gives a certain amount of access. So I fought with the belt trying to get it around three pulleys. Why does it come off so easily when it’s so fucking hard to get back on again? I managed in the end and righted the mower.
One of the little problems with upending the mower is that the crankcase oil leaks a bit and ends up dribbling all over the exhaust pipe. So when I start the engine again that oil burns off and I disappear in a massive cloud of stinking blue smoke. I bet that’s carcinogenic!
Anyways I cut the front lawn.
I had to disengage the blades again to get to the next lawn as it involves driving over gravel and I don’t want to pepper the whole parish with little stones. It’s not good for the blades either.
Having arrived on the back lawn I engaged the blades again. Nothing. FUCK!! The fucking belt had come off again.
So I repeated the whole process of getting the tractor to sit up and beg. This time the belt flatly refused to get into place. I would get it over one pulley and it would promptly slip off the other two. I fought with it for about half an hour and eventually got it in place. I set off in another thick cloud of blue oily smoke to mow the grass with a determination not to disengage the blades until I had finished.
I completed one lap of the acreage with great difficulty as the long grass kept jamming the blades, and I had to keep reversing and jiggling the blade height until the wads of soggy grass were dislodged.
I had started the second lap when the blades stopped spinning. The clutch was engaged so I assumed the belt had dropped off again. But it hadn’t. I realised this when clouds of blue smoke emanated from under the machine and there was a stink of burning rubber. DAMN, BLAST, BOTHER, KNICKERS AND SPIT!!!!!
I upended the tractor again and my worst fears were confirmed – the blades had jammed and the friction had rightly fucked the drive belt. It was in tatters, and by this time so was I. I drove it back to the garage and left it.
I sat down to rest and realised I was in a lot of pain, mostly in my chest and arms. Either I had had a heart attack or I had pulled some muscles. There was the option of phoning for an ambulance but the changes of a long life are drastically reduced by entering our so called health system so I decided that pulled muscles would give me a better chance of survival.
Most of the pain has eased after a good night’s sleep and it’s mainly my back that’s hurting now.
Replacing the belt can wait for another time.
Assuming I’m still alive, that is.