Sunday, 17 July 2011

Mower Mutiny!




In the eleven years we've lived here, we've gone through four lawn mowers.  Whatever happened to electrical goods whose life extended long after the manufacterers' guarantees expired?  These-days products seem to be made as cheaply as possible in the full knowledge that items will develop faults sooner rather than later.  Perhaps it's a deliberate method of keeping the economy turning over, in that goods are made to break down so people will keep buying more of the same.  Repairs cost nearly as much as a new product, assuming spare parts are even available.  This is one contributing factor to the planet's ever-growing rubbish tips.

It's also rather annoying.  Our high-pressure waterjet patio cleaner, for example, lasted one season before the plastic handle split, meaning all pressure was lost and water was pouring over the electric wiring.  Could a new handle be bought?  Of course not.  Our fairly new bread-making machine went on fire.  Our deep-fat fryer, one in a long line of similar products, suddenly decided that it didn't need to be hot.  Our fridge, the third since we've lived here, developed a bizarre rattling crunch then decided it didn't need to be cold.  The repair man said, "Oh, yeah; they do that."  Could he fix it?  No.  I cleaned our gas oven with a well known oven-cleaning product whose "muscles" bunged up the gas jets and two guys with blow torches couldn't unbung them. 

The catalogue of woes goes on but you get the idea.  You've probably got a similar catalogue.

Gradually,  we're going Kind-Of Amish.  If it can be done without a machine, it's being done that way.  Tasks take a bit longer, it's true, but the results are just the same.  Only kind-of Amish, I must stress - Xtianity, medieval clothing and penchant for dying rather than accepting surgery will never be "back on the menu, boys".  And life without a computer would be undesirable to say the least...

I have absolutely no objection to machines making life easier.  On the contrary.  But actually our old flymo really didn't make mowing easier as it weighed a ton and getting round corners was more laborious than steering a hovercraft.  One of our other old electric mowers worked fine till it was asked to cut grass.  Every few yards it needed unjamming - which meant walking across the garden to unplug it, walking back to the mower to poke at it with a stick, then walking across the garden to plug it in again, then walking back to start mowing again.  The pleasure of mid-mow garden strolls soon wore off.

When the latest lawn mower went up in smoke - literally - I seem to have inspired a small mutiny. My purchase of an old-fashioned push-it-yourself Qualcast Panther mower, which costs much less than an electric one and does just as good a job of cutting the grass, has inspired a growing avalanche of people expressing an interest in buying a similar model. They too are fed up of electrical goods which conk out long before reasonable wear and tear can take their toll - which was my reason for buying a manual mower. 

Could this herald the growth of a slow, non-violent revolution whose converts protest the manufacturing of shoddy goods by simply not buying them anymore?

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