I found myself wandering aimlessly on what could be described as the lawn, but in reality would better fit the word ‘meadow’. Long grass tickling my knees. Hidden lumps and dips to stumble over and into.
I find a shed. In that shed is a shiny red motor mower. It hasn’t moved for at least 18 months. I fancy myself a bit of a practical chap, so I take the battery out of it and I put it on charge in the shed for a couple of days.
It rains. Then there is sunshine. Then more rain. The grass starts looking long and luscious. We either need to get some sheep – really soon, or that mower needs to start working.
Yesterday, there was some more sunshine, and an opportunity to see to the grass. I remove the ignition barrel from the mower, and take it inside, to see if I can work out how to hotwire it. I’m amazed to find we actually have a key that fits. Back to the shed.
The battery has enough life to turn the motor over, but it won’t start.
I take the cover off the engine, check fuel and oil.
I try and pull-start the thing a few times. Doesn’t work.
I take the sparkplug out. It looks clean, fresh, and smells of petrol. There’s no spark though.
No spark. So, it’s the battery, or the coil, or the HT lead.
I pull the battery out of my motorbike – I know it’s ok. I jump-lead that to the mower, and while the engine turns, it’s still not starting. Dammit.
The coil and lead look nice and clean. The air filter is fine.
A friend on facebook said “are you actually sitting in it when you try to start it?”
I look again at the wiring. There’s a lead that goes up under the seat. The mower has a buttock detector. With jumpleads attached and actually sitting in the thing – it starts!
For the next hour or so, Vicky and I take turns pootling around the lawn drinking beer in the sunshine. A thoroughly splendid way to spend a spring evening, away from the dust and heavy lifting of cottage renovation.
I might mow the lawn again this evening. Possibly tomorrow as well.