One Man Went To Mow..


The garden moves inexorably towards winter. The temperatures drop further with each passing day and there’s even the prospect of a frost before this week is out. Reminders of the season pop up everywhere, adding a sense of urgency to the (many) jobs which still remain to be done. Yet it’s only October and some days it can feel comfortably warm, warm enough for an afternoon coffee outside in the sun. Enough to prompt Mike, on a particularly pleasant day recently, to cut the grass. The lawn has been slow to grow over this long hot summer but recent rains have changed all that, in parts it better resembles a meadow.

The Gardener surveyed the mower’s steady progress as she made her way to the Precipitous Bank. It was shaping up to be a glorious late afternoon. Shafts of golden light cut through the trees as the sun sank lower in the sky. Canada geese flew overhead in waves, coming in to land in the fields opposite where they’ve been gathering for the night. Cows lowing from somewhere nearby. A robin, fluttering down to rest upon the stump of a tree, lilting a song. “Where will you be working this evening Missus and will there be worms?” And then. Then. The most horrific CRUUUUUNCH. That sickening wrench of metal against metal.

I knew what had happened. Before Mike did actually. I knew from his last observed position. “NNOOOOOoooooo!!”



When Mike places the ducks out on the lawn he favours a naturalistic style, positioning one of them a short distance behind the rest, as if it were running to catch up. I must admit, it perfectly captures their essence. Then, when he’s cutting the lawn, it’s his habit to mow right up to the ducks before stopping temporarily to move them out of harm’s way. Except, as we’ve already noted, on this particular day the grass had grown really quite long..



The patient was airlifted straight into surgery to be manipulated this way and that while clamped firmly into the workshop vice and then hammered back into shape. Mike has done his best.



But as you can see it was a close run thing. The poor bird’s lower beak has been forced upwards to meet the upper and frankly we were fortunate to escape a decapitation.



Bearing the scars, the casualty restored to the line up.. second from the right.

After the trauma of passing through the mower and living to tell the tale the least we can do is return him to the comfort of his friends. So now there are ten ducks focused primarily on where they’re placing their feet and one who keeps his head permanently tilted upward toward the horizon. I wonder what (or who) he might be keeping a look out for?