It’s got nothing to do with the workload. (Although with the population set to pass nine billion by 2050, a look of grim determination could be forgiven.)

No. It’s the scythe.

I bought one a while ago. But this week I had the excuse to take the wrapping off (plastic film on the blade – very 21st Century) and use it to cut down some grass on an ancient path through the woods above which an electric fence now sits. More on this, later.

Although a novice to the tool, I soon got into the swing of it. The forceful side-to-side action is not one my body has come across before, and I wondered what effect it would have on an upper body that is becoming increasingly triangular. I was, for a while, the Grin Reaper. The Getting in Trim Reaper. The Eversoslightlymore Slim Reaper.

I suspected I would feel the effects the next day. But no. It was the day after that. Possibly exacerbated by the planting of about 60 iron posts (some through limestone), the relocation of several barrows of manure and the doing of many other jobs not mentioned here.

Last night, I slept like the dead. All of them.

It didn’t help. The body aches in all kinds of places. I’m very, very tired. Not tired enough to buy a petrol-driven strimmer (why use fossil fuels when calories will do?), but I can almost see the attraction.

Maybe, like with other tools, reaping is a question of practice. Not too much. Wouldn’t want to do it all the time. That would be grim.

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