Green waterproof leggings, splattered up the front with dry grass are stepped into. Comfy safety boots, similarly coated with a film of dark green crud are also pulled into place and laced up tight. As if preparing for battle, a matching jacket is zipped and velcro fastened right up to the neck. The preparations are not yet complete, for gloves, extra thick ‘anti-vibration’ ones at that are scooped up from the worktop before making for the machinery store.
A sleeping strimmer leans against the wall, its chunky engine anchoring the machine to one spot, while the business end, the spinning bit, leans securely against the corner of the shed; also covered in dry grass. In days of old it might have been the twisted shaft of a scythe, with glinting blade, eager to tear through the sward during a day’s honest toil. Today however, this fossil fuelled consumer of grass leads the way, and its scope for work knows no bounds, all it asks is a regular drink of oiled fuel; stinky, pink, oiled and smoke producing petroleum.
Its harness slips overhead, and with straps adjusted is now ready to support the weighty machine, but before heading out, a spare length of cord is tucked into the pocket, and the handy pen-knife touched for reassurance. One last thing; the orange helmet with grubby visor is lifted from its hook, and once more slots securely in place, sure to protect against sunshine and showers, along with bullet like particles of shredded grass, and slug.
Wrapped up and harnessed up, with strimmer hovering silently, I stomp out in search of the next patch of fresh and ‘untidy’ grass. Clicking my ear defenders into place, my worldly sounds become muffled, and my focus for a while is the audible thud and the bone jarring shock of my boots clumping on the drive. Pausing to set the machine on the ground, the choke is switched, the rubber bulb squished and, with a single pull of the starter cord, the machine rumbles into life – for just a second. With choke switched off, a second pull fires it up again. ‘We’ are now in business.