Saturday 29 September 2018

You can't get good help

Once upon a time a couple retired, in the normal course of events, and about the same time (he 65, she 60) they moved to a tiny cottage on Costa na Déise = The Waterford Coast. That was a good choice for two pensioners with limited means: 
  • small is cheaper to heat; 
  • small has less space for distracting clutter; 
  • small can be cleaned quicker. 
The tiny cottage [IDed R], built about 100 years before, came with a mighty garden: 1.058 acres = 0.4 hectares = 100m x 40m. That was because, in the 1890s, cottagers were expected to plant sufficient rows of spuds to feed their extensive "every sperm is sacred" families. The previous owners had split the property, with a monstrous Leylandii hedge, into a lower paddock and a neat garden with exotic trees nearer the house. For years Pat kept a few goats to munch their way through the paddock but undertook to mow the rest of the grass himself. A third of an acre = about 12 ares = a helluva lot of mowing, especially if you go over it whenever there is a dry spell (in case the grass gets out of control, you understand). For the next 20 years, Pat mowed for Ireland. Then, quite abruptly just after he turned 85, he downed tools and a) refused to drive the car b) refused to mow the lawn: maintaining in both cases that he was now a liability to himself and others.

Over the next couple of years me and Dau.II split the lawn-mowing because someone had to do it. It was part of the weekly Pension Run where we picked up the old folks, took them into town to draw the pension, buy some groceries, load up on meds and get home in time for lunch. Mowing the lawn was the alternative to watching day-time television and both had their positive aspects. But there was no way I was going to gather up grass clippings to dump them down in the paddock. Then my in-laws moved into town, which meant they could walk to the post-office, Dau.II left home and I didn't feel responsible for the new lawn in the new place. Accordingly, a local bloke was contracted to mow that lawn for €25 a go, "whenever he thought it needed a cut and he could fit the job into his busy schedule". 

Well that was a creeping disaster altogether. This lawn-bloke . . . 
  • didn't come with any regularity
  • wouldn't respond to txts or e-mails
  • dumped the clippings over the wall into the neighbour's horse paddock
  • mowed over some lavender plants that had disappeared under the unmowed grass
  • was truculent when called to account
  • thought that €25 for 40 minutes work wasn't really enough
  • still didn't come with any regularity
and now it looks like [dang and blast it] I've got my old job back. The lawn, having been unmowed for a month, was looking 'tufty'. When I set to, Pat was sitting in the garden with a silent / supervisory demeanour so I couldn't fire the clippings over the hedge. Nothing for it but gather up all the grass into a 1 tonne builders' rubble sack and take it away in my car. Sounds good in theory. But the mowing and gathering happened in the evening while take it away in my car wasn't until the following morning.

Well the following morning the inside of my car was like a tropical rain-forest. I couldn't see through any of the windows with their thick occluding pall of condensation. And there was a most peculiar smell which was probable the early stages of silage fermentation. I had to drive all the way to work with all the windows open hoping thereby to dry out the upholstery. Did someone mention rain-forest?

Notes to self: next time use smaller water-proof sacks . . . . and don't leave it so long between mowings yeh lazy git. And did someone mention the €25/ 40mins? meeeeeeeeee!

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