Hints & Tips
I am in my garden, gazing, over the top of my laptop, at my rather neglected lawn. It was cut a little while ago but it has rained a fair bit since and Brody, my friend and sometime gardener has gone on his hols. I have been, as usual, trying to come up with some interesting ideas to write about. But my pen (or rather my two keyboard fingers) is/are reluctant to skip across the page/keyboard and create something special.
And I know why. I’m still a little sad about the news last week that the great Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear, one of the sweetest, funniest, most popular children’s book characters ever, finally packed his suitcase, hung up his battered old hat (complete with marmalade sandwich inside of course) and waved a polite farewell to us all.
I read, and had read to me, all the Paddington books when I was a wee girl and they introduced me for the first time to how funny writing can be. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Paddington is one of the reasons I (try to) write today.
The humanity in that little bear, the good manners, the always being polite to people unless they upset him, then the peculiar hard stares, I thought it was all marvellous when I was little. And funny? Oh my. I remember howling with laughter during one story when, on a trip in the car with the Browns, Paddington excitedly offers to navigate, using one of those those old fashioned things called a map and gets them lost when he mistakenly follows a wayward piece of marmalade peel stuck to the map instead of a road. The scrapes (and that is just the word for them) that Paddington got into were hilarious and nearly always triggered by curiosity or a desire to help people. Fabulous.
So I gaze at my rather neglected lawn, trying to find an excuse not to mow, I can’t help but wonder what would happen were Paddington to be living next door. Perhaps I’d get out a stepladder, lean it against the hedge and with a cry of “Bear” “I say. Bear” like the mean and nasty neighbour Mr Curry, I would peer over the hedge and try to get him to cut the lawn for me, offering a derisory payment of 2p or something that to a small bear from Peru would seem like a fortune.
He’d come round, I’d bossily tell him what to do and go and laze on a deckchair while he worked. He’d try to be very helpful and careful and he’d mow slowly and cautiously to start with but as got more confident he would then discover a lever he was curious about. He’d tentatively pull the lever, it would rev up the mower and it would take off at full speed across the garden. He wouldn’t be able control it, it would mow down my rose bushes, I’d jump up from my sun lounger and wave him down but he’d come straight at me, I’d leap out of the way and go flying into the fishpond.
Then the mower would shoot straight through the hedge at top speed and zip down the road with Paddington holding on to the handlebars for dear life and raising his hat politely to alarmed passers by as he went, ending up accidentally giving a surprise lift to a bemused policeman and an old lady before overtaking and catching a criminal by accident, ending up a hero.
Ah well. Maybe not. Anyway, I have no obliging young bear living next door so I will just have to get out my trusty mower and get on with cutting the lawn myself. I shall try to channel the spirit of Paddington and do this thing I often see as a chore with the glee of a first timer, relishing it as if it were a new and exciting experience.
In fact, I think that is one of the great joys of Paddington. His wide-eyed innocence and delight that makes every new experience, no matter how small and seemingly banal, into an adventure to be savoured. I think perhaps if I treated my gardening like this I would get more done and have more fun.
So, in tribute to the great man, Mr Bond, I shall start here and now and try my best to make every trip into the garden as exciting and enjoyable as a trip to darkest Peru, and when it all gets a bit dull again, as it often does, just ask myself ‘What would the bear do?”
And BTW, if you need to spice up your mowing experience, why not take a look at our bright and shiny collection of lawnmowers, petrol, electric or battery powered. And if you need advice, call our lovely friendly product advisor team on 0345 4588 905 (9am-5pm Mon-Fri 10am-4pm Sat)
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See ya. Holly.