For me, the full-stop to summer is the mowing of the meadow. Last year the ground was too wet for Sam and his enormous mowing machine to do the deed. But this year he is hurtling around this part of Sussex, cutting a growing number of wild-flower meadows. He is so busy that he cut ours on a Sunday – so I wasn’t there to watch him deftly dodging around the new deer cage slalom (which I have since strimmed around).
But here’s a photo of him (and since you ask, his ‘Ryetech Flail Mower Collector’) from two years ago. Having twice cut the meadow myself, I was so very, very grateful that the ground was firm enough for Sam to come this year. (He had a lousy 2012 – ours wasn’t the only meadow he wasn’t able to cut).
It’s a long, hot job and not one I enjoy. If you have ever used a petrol strimmer, hedge trimmer or chainsaw, you may have experienced ‘white finger’ – an unpleasant condition caused by the vibrations of certain power tools. The blood vessels in the hand go into spasm leading to a restriction in the supply of blood to the fingers, a loss of colour (hence the name) and a tingling, numbing and possibly painful sensation. It is a cumulative disorder with no cure. For this reason I limit strimming to an hour or two each day but even so I sometimes experience pins and needles for a while afterwards.
As well as the concern that I might be permanently damaging my hands is the worry that I will kill a frog or toad, a snake or newt. As far as I know, I haven’t yet – and often carry one or other off to safety.