Friday, 24 February 2012

Suddenly, all things are possible

Management has been saying I need a ride-on mower ever since we moved here.  As I rather like slowly walking back and forth behind the petrol mower, enclosed in my own little world with ear-protectors, I resisted his generosity. Eventually, however, the cumulative effect of moving endless heavy items from one end of the garden to another proved too much and I agreed that some form of garden machinery with a towing hitch was now essential.  We researched mini-tractor machines, quad bikes, and for a brief while I toyed with the idea of a Massey Ferguson TE20* or maybe a MF35.   It became apparent that the cheapest way to get mechanical towing capability was to find a ride-on mower.  This decision was made at the back end of last summer but we didn't want to buy anything until we had somewhere to store it.  Enter the mower shed which has taken much longer to build than planned, but such is the way of life at Bag End.

Delivery mid-morning as expected, no rain for a change and even the sun was trying to participate.  All seemed well, but this being Bag End, the day was not without incident.  I successfully drove the machine from the drive up to the working area.  I successfully turned it around in order to reverse into the shed.  I successfully avoided the huge log pile and various other obstacles.**

I did not successfully avoid getting one of the back wheels stuck in mud that would not have been out of place on Mungrisdale Common***.

Fixing this involved second-hand reed screen (rapidly acquired from the nursery area, I was planning to take it down, just not today), taking out the corner of the wood pile with a chainsaw and the first trailer load of supplies as a huge quantity of bark chips were chucked on the ground.

After all that, reversing into the shed was easy-peasy.  Tomorrow, once some of the mud has dried, there is much cleaning to be done.

Unfortunately I'm rather limited in what I can do with our new toy at present.  Until the big pile of salvaged roof lath is de-nailed and moved I can't get onto the cottage garden, and the ground around the big pond is too soft to walk on, let alone drive a few hundred kilos of machine across it.  However, she feels safe, secure, very capable and I'm sure I'll have lots of fun towing supplies around Bag End (and occasionally cutting the grass).  All sorts of possibilities open up when I don't have to depend upon having someone else around to shift materials.

     (She does need a name though . . .)

The pressure is now off.  The mower shed is fundamentally weatherproof, alarmed and the machine is chained to the steel shed base.  Given the state of the ground (we've had 1¾" of rain so far and the month still has five days to go), LP and I have agreed to have a week or two off.  He's in the middle of his own major house renovation project and has got plenty to do right now.  I will be able to potter around, possibly even doing some gardening as opposed to construction work.  That'll be a nice change!

* and I reserve the right one day, to get one just because they are gorgeous!

  Skelton Show, 2010

**  James, if you say anything else about 4WD tractors you'll get a smack!

*** friends know that I loath, hate and detest Mungrisdale.  Ollie once fell - head first - into a bog up there and for a heart-stopping moment I doubted my ability to get him out.  The unexpected peat bath had no long term ill-effects on Mr Hairy.  I, on the other hand, have still not recovered and never intend to forgive.  It's not just me; Alan Hinkes, one of England's greatest ever climbers, once admitted to getting into serious trouble in a Mungrisdale bog that he would not have survived had it not been for a pair of walking poles and sheer good luck.

   Covered in peat (but why is his head clean when that's what went in first?) and smelling 'delightful'.


  1. OH! That bog stuff sounds scary!!! I do hope you dry out soon! Maybe you could name your tractor SAM. Afterall, if it wasn't for Samwise Gamgee, would Frodo have made it through? Probably not!

  2. Thanks Eve, fortunately our soil dries fairly quickly once the rain stops. Thank you for the name suggestion, non-starter I am afraid, some "history" with that name.

    What was the name of the pony who accompanied the Fellowship as far as the gates of Moria?

  3. hahaha! I know what a name can do!! Ok here are two pony names from TLOTR's, Bill. He was mistreated by his owner until the Hobbits' took him in. Sam named him Bill and he became "fatter and happier" in the shire! and then there was Bumpkin.Which sounds perfect for a riding mower!! hahaha! Bumpkin was one of five ponies abtained by Merry and used by the hobbite to ride from the Shire to Bree! There was also a pony named Fatty Lumpkin owned by Bombadil, he took the ponies who found their way back from Bree home to be looked after by Butterbur!! Now we know so much more than we did yesterday!!!

    1. OMG, a true LOTR nut! Thanks for a good giggle so early in the day. Sadly, I can't use your second excellent suggestion either, Bumpkin is one of the many stupid 'other names' by which I used to address Ollie (joining the list of Mr Hairy, Mud Magnet, Mobile Rug and Big Bum to name just a few). I can't call her Rosie either (Sam's wife) which would be perfect because of her colour but was also the name of a dear friend's vehicle. In my mad world vehicles often become part of the family and this one was doing fine until totalled by a teenager busy sending text messages (at 40mph). Very lucky my friend was not seriously injured or killed.

      Maybe I need a Hogwarts name, not a LOTR one ....


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