Three men and a machine

The first of  a short occasional series about suburban nature.

You know it’s spring when you see three blokes standing on the nature-strip looking at a lawn-mower. It was a Saturday morning of course and there they were – my neighbour and two older men. Possibly his father and father-in-law. Or maybe his father and an uncle.

They were related in some way: if not by blood then by the bond with the silent, inanimate object standing between them. Blokes love to mow. Some women too, I’m sure. But it’s blokes who really do it hard through winter, wishing they could be out there at one with the grass and the machine.

The neighbour’s nature-strip didn’t look especially long or unkempt but the sun was shining, the sky was blue and the three men were answering the call of nature, the call that says, ‘Get the mower out of the shed and out into the fresh air. Give it some oxygen as well as some two-stroke.’

Years ago I shared a communal motor-mower with two neighbours. It seemed the sensible thing to do – it’s not as if every house in every street has to have its own personal mower.

It was a good arrangement until my two comrades both moved suburbs, leaving me to happily push my little acoustic mower up and up down the grass. Up and down, up and down, Clickety-clack, clickety-clack. Front and back, front and back.

Three blokes standing around in the morning sunshine, looking at a lawn-mower. Much later in the day I saw them out the front again, dressed to the nines. Fancy suits. Shiney shoes. Shaved chins.

You know it’s spring when three blokes are all dressed up, off to an afternoon wedding. They were as neat as the newly-mown nature-strip.

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