Harry Takes a Holiday
Harry is the lawn mower that came with the house. He is a machine not a person. Called Harry because that is his name that is stamped on the back of the mower, how workman like, to wear your name. I don’t know how much he cost, how old he is or where he came from. I do know that when something on Harry breaks I take him down to Guido Rossi in town and he fixes it. Each Spring before the mowing season starts I take Harry down to have him checked over and have his oil changed. That usually costs between 35 and 40 Euros. And each year I have had to take Harry back to Guido at least once if not twice more during the season because something else breaks. (Just taking him to town is a production. Luckily we have a car large enough to accommodate him, but I still have to unload things from the car and move stuff around and get Ben to come help me load Harry up.)
In late May this year I had to take him back because he lost his ‘get up and go’, i.e. the drive cable that makes him self propelled broke and also the drive belt needed to be replaced. 50 Euros. Surely, I thought, this was the end of taking Harry in to town. No, of course it was not. Today, June 6, after about using him for about an hour and half since his return I went out to spend some quality time with him. I topped off his gas tank and got ready to start him up when I realized that there was an awful lot of gas on the deck of the mower. I had not over flowed the gas tank so what exactly was the problem? Gas continued to keep coming out and I realized that Harry was leaking vital fluids and emergency surgery would be needed. Quickly Ben and I loaded him up and I was off to town. The entire car filled with gas fumes even though I had the windows down. I worried about getting hit since I was sure with any spark the car would just become one giant fireball. Of course this was Wednesday, market day in town. So I threaded my way through the people walking in the streets laden with shopping. Hoping that one of them won’t flick a cigarette my way. Finally to Guido Rossi.
Guido, who is probably close to my age, has a full head of dark hair and a mustache and looks very Italian. We always discuss Harry and his condition in my pigeon Italian, while Guido speaks slowly and tries to use proper Italian. We manage to understand each other. So today, Guido comes out and he and I unload Harry. ‘Hmmm, could be the fuel line or the connection. I could fix that in 5 minutes.’ What a deal. Yeah, sure I’ll wait. Guido takes Harry away.
A few minutes pass and I hear grumbling from Guido’s private workshop. He emerges. The quintessential Italian workman. Overalls, dark hair, mustache, cigarette dangling from his mouth, ash dangling from the cigarette, he is holding Harry’s plastic gas tank that still reeks of gas and he wants me to come and see where it is leaking from. Do you think that just for 5 minutes he could do without a cigarette?????? I am shocked but since Guido is not covered in scars from burns and his wife and son are fairly close by, I guess it is probably safe for me to approach. Turns out that 5 minute fix is out of the question. Maybe a week now.
See the curve, where it is not cut and cut?
This is where I mowed last night and how much I was cutting. (really it has only been a week since it was cut) I can only imagine what it will be like in a week’s time. Oh, Harry, how could you do this to me?
Post script: What have I been doing since I am taking a break from grass cutting? Well, I have weeded flowers beds and executed the weeds that dare pop-up between the cracks of the bricks on the terrace in front of the limonaia, (Off with their heads! Elizabetta helped me with this. She likes the role of the lady who knitted while sitting beside the guillotine.) I have vacuumed. (always a trial for me) I have cleaned the exhaust fan over the stove and defrosted the freezer. Every piece of clothing we own is washed and I will set to ironing this afternoon. Oh, Harry, please come home. These domestic chores are killing me.