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A kick in the carburettor

Machines get old and tired just like people do so be gentle when it comes to trading them in, says Richard Barr

19 March 2014

I well remember my father kicking and beating the lawnmower, an old petrol model that had been misbehaving all morning. The grass had to be cut because the Archdeacon of Huntingdon and Wisbech was coming to take tea in the garden, and my father, who was ungodly to the end, wanted to impress him.

After several more thrashings, the mower eventually spluttered into life and sulkily transformed the lawn, if not into a bowling green, at least into something that one could walk on without fear of falling into pot holes.
Yet it still exacted its revenge – by catching its blade in a
large stone.

From then on, it made a noise like a machine gun every time it was used. It taught me at a tender age that machines do have minds of their own and you mess with them at your peril.

This all happened ...

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