First I cleaned off the leaf blower/vacuumer, and the hover mower. Both dated from around 2002, and were very dusty from not being used for years. But they looked in good shape after a wipe. Here's the leaf blower/vacuumer:
And here's the mower:
You can see how sunny it was - unusual for early March!
There were plenty of leaves to hoover up in odd corners of the front garden, and down by the side of the house, so I unwound the new reel of cable and plugged the leaf blower/vacuumer in. It worked. But the suction didn't seem very good. Ah, lots of dried mud clogging it up. That cleared, it did much better for while. The suction was really quite strong, picking up little bits of gravel as well as leaves. That was its undoing. The suction suddenly went away. Now what? Of course, the plastic casing had become brittle with the passing years, and those bits of gravel, whizzing around inside, had blasted little cracks - and even some triangular holes. That's why there was no suction. It was leaking air (or vacuum?) through those cracks and holes. The thing was a write-off.
Not to worry. It was just old, found, equipment that had cost me nothing. I'd killed it, but no worries. It wasn't in any way an essential device.
I turned now to the mower. Here there was a different problem, to do with attaching the power cable. You pushed it onto a socket, and there was a clip to securely keep it there. This was the clip:
You opened the thing by pressing with your thumb...
...then, as you pushed it on, a spring would close the clip, locking a tooth on the underside of the darker bit - visible above - behind a lug on the socket. In such a way, that the two couldn't be pulled apart without applying that thumb again. Thus the cable wouldn't detach itself while mowing. The whole thing was meant to stay together like this:
Except that the spring had broken, and so the plug and socket could come apart. Not straight away - the push fit was quite a good one - but it would gradually work loose. I now vaguely remembered once using a mower with this fault in the cable attachment. It must have been this very mower - before my parents engaged Andrew. Perhaps I had been visiting them, and had attempted some mowing for them.
Well, mowers are expensive to buy, so if this one was otherwise fine, and the clip was the only thing wrong, then I needed to devise a solution. I thought about it, and found one. It just needed some sort of collar to hold the bits tightly together. Rummaging among the odds and ends in the garage I found these plastic shower curtain rings:
Perfect. I got one into position:
Success! It held the plug and socket together. And my improvisation could stay in place indefinitely.The cable didn't need to be detached after every mow.
The grass had hardly begun to grow yet, but I wanted to get some practice in. I got the new strimmer out of its box, and went round the edges of the lawn. Hmm, very effective! I'd need plenty of practice with it, though, to make a neat job.
Then I plugged in the mower. Oh, surprise, surprise! It worked beautifully. It took me a while to rediscover the knack of mowing with a trailing cable, and the end result wasn't one I was especially proud of. Certainly I wouldn't have paid good money for it. But nevertheless, it was a result, and one rapidly achieved. I vastly preferred Andrew's professional finish, and would miss it, but this cost me only some personal effort.
I'm encouraged. The back garden now awaits, a task for the weekend. And I'll be having my first go with the hedge cutter. I've never used one. That'll be fun.
Meanwhile here's the mower and strimmer in my garage, after cleaning the grass off them: