Velvet Snoutindingle's Old Nut Sack

Roger will not be rushed. If you try, for example, to give the Night Planted Orchard a quick mow because of rain followed by warm sun and you are about to leave for two weeks well earned rest, he will not co-operate.

It's my own fault. On removing Roger from his shed I discovered an old nut lying in the grass. It was worn and rusty and could have lain there for years. I should have known. I put the nut on a shelf and proceeded to mow the top half of the garden which is not an orchard. Yet. There were no incidents other than the usual blocked chute due to a particularly thick blade of grass, or forgetting that mowing in reverse causes Roger to sulk. No wheels fell off. There were no punctures. Roger even ran healthily and filled two baskets of cuttings. I took the nut off the shelf and threw it into the little sack of old nuts in the garage. 

The next morning I decided to finish the orchard with a hard deadline before leaving for Cornwall. A long journey and not one that could be sensibly delayed. I had not reckoned on the power of dirt, rust and years of accreted grass clippings to do the work of a well tightened nut. At the very furthest point of the orchard Roger's steering failed. A simple connection which needed a nut curiously like the one I'd found the day before was waving uselessly between two wheels, previously inseparable, now sulking and staring in opposite directions. I searched my nut sack for almost an hour and couldn't find it. None of the others fitted. Perhaps it was a curious Canadian nut somewhere between metric and imperial. As I struggled to drag Roger back to his shed, one of the rear tyres went flat and refused to stay inflated for more than a few minutes. Between draggings and pumpings, I noticed that the temporary front wheel was behaving oddly. The original wheel was away being repaired - it takes me hours to replace an inner tube with my rebellious hands - and I'd replaced it with an old one. Silly me. As I investigated the centre portion with the bearing which connected to the axle neatly popped free of its wheel and fell useless in the grass.

Poor Roger will spend May under a tarp, with a sorry list to starboard and sorely exposed to the elements. I hope he learns his lesson.


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