Tool Box: Hardy way to air a lawn

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The Independent Online
A LINE from Thomas Hardy - 'When the hedgehog travels furtively over the lawn' - came to mind last week as I was about to start my pre-breakfast walk. A hedgehog had crossed the grass and fallen into the swimming- pool.

They can swim, but this one must have given up the ghost during the night.

The incident prompted an eccentric thought about training hedgehogs to spike lawns. It was something to contemplate while doing just that with the Tudor Aerator, which costs pounds 46.

The makers recommend using it in spring and autumn, to improve drainage and assist root growth, but I was concerned about letting water into the sunbaked ground.

'Best results are obtained when the lawn is wet,' according to the leaflet. That makes sense, but the 24 spring-loaded spikes did a reasonable job in bone-dry conditions.

A mallet and a block of wood were required to assemble the handle. Exerting pressure on the grass would be much easier if the shaft ended in a crossbar.

I tend towards the theory that, until those domesticated hedgehogs have been trained to roll along the grass, walking a lawn while wearing spiked shoes is an acceptable alternative.

Standard Manufacturing Company, 55 Woods Lane, Derby DE3 3UD (0332 43369).

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