Our Southern correspondent’s machinations in his garden begs the question: is that a power tool at your hip, or are you just happy that it’s spring?
Our Southern correspondent springs to life in a water blasting adventure
Like a bear dehibernating, I shoved a sleepy muzzle into the still cold air. My garden looked much as it had in autumn. But on the south side of the house, which had seen neither me nor the sun since May, the path has gained a green tinge. I laid a curious Croc upon it and, well, I was still checking my hips for fractures when Heather came round.
“Hello Heather,” I said. “…No no, I’m fine. …No, I think it’s something microbial. Nothing a hard broom and a dose of bleach won’t shift.”
“Why don’t you borrow my water blaster?” said Heather. “It’s great on slime.”
“Thanks, but she’ll be right,” I said, because I’m the sort of chap who chooses not to berate his friends, even when they’ve wasted money on needless outdoor power tools that are used once then skulk at the back of the garage until they are rediscovered when moving house a decade later whereupon they take an immediate and irrevocable one-way trip to the landfill.
“Let me give you a hand up,” said Heather.
Bleach, it turned out, isn’t what it used to be. Time was when anything mouldy would shrivel at the sight of it, but my microbials just shrugged it off. Brooms aren’t what they used to be, either. Five minutes with a broom of modern design and I was panting like a steam train. It’s sometimes hard not to think human progress has gone into reverse.
“Entirely hypothetically,” I said to the woman at the hardware store, “and bearing in mind the feebleness of modern bleach and broom, if the south side of your house were to be besieged with microbials of an emerald hue, what would…”
“Come with me,” she said. The water blaster she took down from the display had dinky wheels, a towing handle, a delivery nozzle like an M16, a Scandinavian name and a price tag of $299. “Your slime won’t know what’s hit it,” she said.
When I become emperor I will require anything that needs assembly to say NEEDS ASSEMBLY on the box in letters a foot tall. The one I extracted from the box at home had dinky wheels, a towing handle, and a delivery nozzle like an M16 all enclosed in separate plastic bags, each smothered in advice on how not to suffocate the children I haven’t got, but nothing on assembling my water blaster.
Rooting deep in the box, I found a Bible-sized booklet of health and safety information translated into every language known to man and from which I learned that the Danish for “people with reduced mental capabilities” is “personer med psykisk handicap.” Such people are not supposed to use a water blaster, and there seemed little likelihood that I ever would either, until I found a single sheet of paper covered in hieroglyphs, as on the side of a pharaoh’s tomb. “Instructions for assembly,” it said. I don’t know what you’re like at deciphering hieroglyphs. I proved something of an Egyptologist. Barely three hours later I took the water blaster outside and turned it on. Reader, it was a wonder. The engine roared, the dog hid and I found myself holding the opposite of a prostate problem. Every man should have one. My microbials whimpered and were gone. I sought new targets, gutted drains, flensed concrete, slew weeds. And as I powercleaned the world, this old bear came alive with potency, his ursine loins aflame with the return of spring.