Property: Mowing? Not in my back yard

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HAVE you noticed that the only time you realise the windscreen wiper on your car is not working is when it is raining? Have you also noticed that the only time you realise you have left your credit cards at home is when you come to pay for something? Does anyone check their Christmas tree lights at any time other than Christmas?

I ask these questions because I thought the same principle applied to lawn mowers. I object to mowing the lawn because I am superstitious. I think it is bad luck to do physical labour in a week that has a Friday in it.

As persons of property are well aware, the mowing season is upon us. In my neighbourhood it never actually went away on account of my neighbour's curious Flymo Fetish. But for everyone else the first cut has proved to be the deepest.

I managed to defer the inevitable for the whole of April but a break in the weather, a bank holiday and a last-minute cancellation of my travel plans conspired to bring me face to face with a harsh reality.

Here I must disagree strongly with those who have sought to legalise cannabis. I say again "Keep off the Grass!". But to no avail. I was politely reacquainted with the shed, the keys to the shed and the contents of the shed. I was defeated.

Or was I?

No one was counting on my little deception. Some time last month, in the dead of night, I had crept through the long grass, opened the shed and conducted a hideous act of sabotage. Unbeknownst to the outside world I had assaulted that most disgraceful implement of destruction, the electronic edging machine. This machine works by making such a noise that weeds, grass and all living things simply curl up and die in order to escape the deafening cacophony. Central to its operation is a coil of nylon thread which whirls round and round at great speed. No thread, no electronic edging. No electronic edging, no point in doing the rest of the lawn.

I trousered the thread and crept back to the house safe in the knowledge that I could invoke the windscreen wiper principle come the great day of reckoning.

What I had not reckoned on was the open-all-hours mentality that afflicts our DIY and gardening emporium retailers. They have worked out that gardening is rarely done at night, so if they stay open during daylight hours then people like me have no excuse not to finish the task we have started.

I triumphantly announced my absent nylon thread and headed back towards the afternoon session of the snooker championship, only to be stopped in my tracks by my landlord wielding her Do-It-Or- Else frequent shopper card.

In no longer than it takes to say "I'm not sure if you can buy replacements" several hundred times, I was re-equipped, replaced, replenished, renewed and reacquainted with the grass that had grown several feet higher.

The good news is that the local cats no longer have anywhere to mate of an evening. The bad news is that there is no longer an excuse to defer the barbecue season any longer, particularly as the barbecue is once more visible to the naked eye.