I still remember the first time I used a petrol strimmer. It was back in the days when every family had at least one car, two phones, and people thought nothing of flying to other countries on holiday – or even for work.

Did I ever tell you about aeroplanes?

I did?

Pity.

Ooh. Tea. Lovely.

I was trying to cut four acres of grass with my old scythe – on my own

Any chance of a biscuit? No, that one. Thanks.

The weather had been very wet, and very hot, and the grass was growing about four centimetres a week. I cleared about 10 square metres in about 15 minutes when my old secateur injury started playing up.

The smart money would have been to get some sheep and goats in, but we didn’t have the fencing for it. And we weren’t particularly smart. So we bought a new STIHL with a metal blade, which came with a free pair of gloves – you can never have too many gloves.

I strapped the thing on, and laid waste to some unwanted woodland vegetation. Then I cleared a path around the old pig woods. And made a path from the old workshop down to the veggie patch. All this took minutes, I tell you.

Then I went insane.

I was having so much fun, I stopped thinking about what needed cutting and started looking for what could be cut. “I’ll just keep going until the fuel runs out,” I thought. I was drunk on the power of it, aware that I had somehow become a metaphor for what was happening in the wider world around me.

Fortunately, it didn’t last long.

I walked across to near the orchard/chicken run/orchid meadow and started fragmenting a patch of particularly long and hard-to-reach grass, and the strimmer found a length of string and some wire I’d left there months before. It stopped dead.

Ironic, really. Seeing as how things turned out.

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