In my last post I remarked that the mower was not a happy mower. Unhappy here is defined by the engine stopping rather than turn the cutter blades and, when pressed, making expensive noises and emitting an obscene amount of smelly blue smoke from under the bonnet.
Having checked under the cover and in the rear compartment everything looked OK. We concluded that it was something to do with the cutting module.
According to the instructions, removing the cutting module is, in the vernacular, a portion of urine. According to a quotation attributed to Yogi Berra ‘In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there often is‘. Whether he actually said that is, frankly, a matter of supreme indifference to me. What is important is that it is patently and verifiably accurate – certainly in the case of removing the cutting module.
We managed to open the cutter cowling enough to see that the top end, where the belt turns the beast, had nothing worse than dry grass in it – not enough to stop the thing working. We then drove the machine onto a specially designed, purpose built, state-of-the-art inspection and maintenance facility (see photo), laid underneath it and looked at the actual blades. OMG! You would not believe how thickly mud from molehills had caked in there. You guessed it – enough to stop 12.5HP of Briggs and Stratton’s finest from turning it. One hour later, we were scratched, stung (nettles), filthy, sore and tired, but the cutter module was mud free and I was able to cut the field.
Moles are a constant reality here, so it looks as though I shall need to clean the blades thoroughly after each cut. I think I need to set up some kind of facility in the store to make it a bit more user-friendly! Ideas and offers of help from suitably technical people to the usual address, please.
We are receiving a number of requests from people to come and stay with us, but on a more formal basis than we usually like. Already at least four people have asked when we plan to start B&B operations – it seems they would like to come and stay with us but need to know up front exaxtly what it will cost. We have so far resisted doing this, our feeling being that this is our home, into which we are happy to welcome family and friends, and we don’t really want to run a business. However, if the pressure continues, we may need to revisit that decision.
In another bit of business, I really do need to go across to Poitou-Charentes for a couple of days to see the lady for whom I am building a web site. It needs to be an overnight stop, as her house (OK, château) is a bit over two and a half hours drive away and, although that is about the same distance as the airport at Limoges, which we happily do as a round trip, I shall need to spend a good few hours there on tutorial stuff.
29th April sees the Saint Magnats put on their regular St George’s fair with, as in some previous years, a strong historical theme with re-enactment of important events. This year the theme is St Maigner in 1807 under Napoleon at the heart of the Empire. There will be a Napoleonic market, food, drinks, music, period dances and games for the children and various free demonstrations and shows. If the videos we have seen of previous years’ festivities are anything to go by it promises to be a splendid affair, and we are really looking forward to it. We shall try to do it justice here afterwards. It may also be useful for us to make some more local contacts (like a man who can fix Mr Rotavator, who is stubbornly refusing to do a damned thing this year).
Rik arrived on Friday with his family and a couple of pallets of concrete blocks. Access to the rear of the house is not easy, and so the blocks were carried through the house by Rik, his wife, his 16 years old daughter and 15 years old son (oh yes, and me). Between us we relocated around 80 blocks and the rest are on what it amuses us to call our front garden. Rik is promising to start the construction on Tuesday. Can’t wait.
Still no ventilation in the bathroom – Casper was due to come today but was overbooked. Now promised for tomorrow afternoon.
À la prochaine