George had long dreaded the autumn. As a keen gardener he liked the outside of the house looking spick and span. Fallen leaves lying wet and soggy on the lawn being an abhorrence to his normal happy demeanour.
The task of raking leaves by hand had given George a degree of beneficial exercise but the novelty had long worn away. Fallen leaves no longer were a sign of the natural course of life; providing nourishment for future years in the garden. No, a wet leaf to George was an utter bastard out to irritate him beyond reason. Their presence induced him to a torrent of unreserved lengthy profanities.
“what did you just say?” enquired George’s quiet, church going extremely house-proud wife, Gillian.
“I was remarking on how pleasant it is to rake up these leaves and place them in the compost heap to rot down and so provide nourishment for next year, my angel” answered George.
”Why is it your explanation is about ten times longer than your original statement?” enquired Gillian. “And also what exactly does the term “screw you twatting leaves” actually mean?”
His new found range of Anglo-Saxon expressions had shocked him let alone his teetotal daughter of a Methodist preacher wife. The marital bond having been substantially dented George realised he needed find another way to complete the task. He’d been well busted on the language front and decided it was time to mechanise the leaf clearance process.
With his head held high George visited the local garden centre. Being an environmentalist he was delighted to spot a hand propelled leaf sweeper. Not only will it pick up leaves it will leave your lawn with stripy lines as if you’ve just mown it. The thought of this outcome was a true bonus. Looks from neighbours seeing a stripped lawn in the winter actually appealed more than the mechanised leaf collection process.
Back home George unpacked his new sweeper, assembled handle A to socket B; collection basket to handle C (which George interpreted as handle A as another marked ‘C’ surely didn’t exist). This was all achieved in an ‘easy to induce way’ just as the translation from Chinese promised. Within ten minutes George was ready to do some serious sweeping. Armed with the remaining four screws and eight nuts and bolts in his pocket left over from the assembly, George strode to the back lawn assuming the potential use of the screws and bolts would be revealed as he pushed the sweeper along.
Up and down George pushed the sweeper. Despite frequent adjustments of the ‘Leaf lift Wear'( which he assumed was a weir, designed to control the degree of leaves to be swept up) a large proportion of the blighters were ignored. George went over the lawn top to bottom left to right, side to side. He calculated he had walked five miles before he called it quits. Still leaves were stuck to the lawn. The promised stripped effect had degenerated into scribble resulting from the sweeper passing over every part of the lawn from ten different directions.
Dismayed, George parked the self-propelled ‘Golden Dawn’ leaf sweeper in the garage adding to his growing collection of ‘Sodding useless equipment’ that the sign in that part of the garage proudly read. Dejected George went back into house to use his computer before Gillian arrived home to berate his experience of the “tools of the devil” on Tripadvisor. The fact this web site only focused on hotels restaurants had always eluded him. The Google search on leaf sweepers introduced George to the concept of leaf blowers. A few clicks later George had bought an electric blower which promised to deliver a gale force from its 1600-watt fan. An added bonus; it could suck up leaves as well as blow them away!
The new electric leaf blower arrived. Having assembled its four components George ventured into the garden. He set the machine to suck and began hoovering the lawn. All was well until George realised the 5m of cable fitted to his leaf blower was woefully inadequate. As the cable tightened at full stretch he momentarily took his eye off the suction nozzle. In the next few seconds the new leaf blower – ‘with suction capability’ hoovered up several small stones into the ‘patented leaf shredding facility’. The stones hit the spinning shredder blades at speed producing an alarming smashing noise; his leaf blower was in the process of self-destruction. The collection bag filled with demolished internal components which both George and the manufacturer’s design team deemed essential to its on-going ability to shred or blow leaves.
The blower still blew but the absence of most of its fan structure meant the ‘gale force’ wind had metamorphosed into a gentle zephyr. George reflected for a moment, before him lay his brand-new and terminally damaged blower. With just five minutes use he was disappointed to say the least, he had never witnessed any machine commit suicide before. An expensive exercise, and thus the new electric blower was duly assigned as the latest addition to the growing volume of ‘sodding useless equipment’ at the back of his garage.
Undaunted the quest for a replacement began immediately. A larger machine with a longer cable and a blow only function was the focus of his new search on Google. And soon he found it; a 2.5kW beast complete with 20m of cable. At home, sans instructions, he fitted the handle using the photo image printed on the box and the ‘Dawn of happiness’ blower was ready for action.
Unfortunately the 2.5kW of energy thrashing down the cable appeared largely dissipated by the time it reached the fan blades. The promised gale force resembled at best a strong wind and viewed with total indifference by the wet leaves. Bloody hell thought George, when Gillian sees all these purchases on the credit card I will be cast into her ‘idiot of the month category.’ Also the array of useless sodding equipment had now become embarrassing.
One last hurrah was in order. This time he needed to hit the mother load or join the mass of middle aged and divorced category. Google was searched to an inch of its existence. The confusion of specifications rattled around George’s brain. Cubic metres per second, hp, fuel mix, 2 stroke versus 4 stroke. He had wandered into the petrol driven group where the length of cable was obsolete. He narrowed the selection to three machines from different manufacturers. All appeared similar but this time there was to be no mistake. But now, which one?
Sleeping over the next week became problematic as he endlessly reviewed the features and benefits of the short listed selection. Then of course there was the issue of Japanese, German or Chinese manufacturers.
And Gillian slept on.
That weekend the weather suddenly changed for the better. George and Gillian headed to the local park. The look of delight on George’s face was immediate, he had spotted a park gardener busy blowing leaves. Abandoning Gillian he ran to the guy to compare performance notes. Gillian, unwittingly, was found taking to herself as she pointed out key features of the fauna and flora unaware of her solos status.
George asked for user experience details of the wet leaf blowing capability, as you do. The guy explained his machine was OK but the bees knees of leaf blowing was the one used by Harry. He could clear a football pitch in 10 minutes.
George ran to the spot where he would find Harry, clipping Gillian as he ran past she spun three times on the spot. This was the tipping point, she make a mental note to sort George out – once she stopped spinning. In the meantime George had spotted Harry and fell in love. Harry was little shocked until he realised the sheep eyes from George were directed at his back. George had spotted his nirvana for Harry was equipped with a 4 stroke backpack blower and was effortlessly blowing wet leaves as if they were tissue paper. George pointed and in a trembling voice asked for the model number then ran off clicking his heels as he went. Bloody nutter thought Harry. Gillian who spotted the interlude underlined her mental note to sort George.
George had placed his order online within 10 minutes after arriving home – and just before he remembered he has left Gillian at the park. She arrived home by taxi and clearly was not amused. George did attempt an explanation but could see half way through his tale was falling on stony around. The kick in the groin serving to convince him that leaf blowers were his project and his alone!
Two days later it arrived. Completely assembled with no handles, screws, bolts or strange shaped components to confuse or diagnose. He walked to the front garden, added a pint of fuel, cranked the engine into life, heaved the masterpiece onto his back, clipped on the harness and away he went. Wet leaves flew everywhere – along with plants and small shrubs that George clipped before he realised the throttle was set at full tilt. In greater control the leaves were blown into heaps, along the road and over the fence into next doors garden. He would deal with that later he thought. Right now George had his mind set on the back garden.
Some decisions in life are hugely successful. George was about to prove some were less sucessful. Rather than stopping the engine and un-hitching the backpack he thought he would simply walk to the back garden through the house. No need to stop the engine, just leave it on tick over and scoot through the house.
As George entered the lounge to reach the patio doors at the back, all was right on plan. The engine ticked over, a gentle breeze emerged at the blower nozzle. He tiptoed across the new laminate floor – laid only last month. And this is where the cunning plan came unstuck. He slipped on that damn rug which then shot out in front of him as soon as his booted foot trod on its luxuriant pile. George was now heading in the direction of down, his feet having shot forward on the rug he was en route to land on his back. Tragically he managed to shove the throttle to full on his way down – and then lock it that position – a feature he recalled to allow park gardens to complete extensive blowing stints without getting throttle grip. He lay for an instant flat on his back unfortunately failing to assess that actions have consequences. The engine ripped into full thrust knocking the nozzle out of George’s hands. The nozzle now had a mind of its own. George began spinning on his back like a crazed break-dancer the blower nozzle accelerating his body into a high G force blur. Dazed and feeling a tad nauseous George managed to catch snapshots of the room
Utter mayhem was his first analysis of the situation; carnage was his second. The high G force prevented him from lifting his head much above two inches from the floor. In his line of sight he saw ornaments and pictures being blown around the room. Ironically, he thought, he saw the three wall mounted ducks in flight. Nothing seemed static, as each item landed the nozzle re-launched it on the next rotation. The piece de resistance; the teapot, a least cherished gift from Aunt Hilda, being launched by the blower and impale itself spout first into the TV.
The whole of the lounge seemed to be flight like the vortex created by a tornado. At this point Gillian entered the room anxious to see what the commotion was. Seeing her beloved room in a rotational swirl was bad enough but spotting her idiot husband spinning on his back like a fly in its death throws was more than her quiet demeanour could stand. George, building images in short burst like the raster scanning function of a TV noticed she had arrived at the crime scene. Gillian started to run on the spot as her rage built beyond any known previous level induced by her lunatic husband. She also pulled at her own hair and spoke in tongues.
At this point the pint of fuel in the blower finally ran out. George began to slow, the only noise being the grinding sound as he and the backpack wore a deeper groove into the laminate floor. As George finally stopped spinning, Gillian started. Using words beyond his comprehension Gillian advised he was undoubtedly a fornicating person whose birth outside of marriage was a central issue in their on-going relationship.
George began rocking back and forth until he finally flipped over and clambered onto his hand and knees and stood up. The devastation was complete. He had thrashed the room beyond all recognition. Dreading the explanation to use on the insurance claim he thought his best move was to go back to the garage where he unclipped the back pack. Placing the blower on the floor he picking up the set of steps that lay nearby and quietly sat himself down under the sign at the back. ‘Sodding useless equipment’ seemed to summarise his predicament rather aptly he thought.