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A lawn mower with go-faster-stripes

Andrew with his go-faster-stripes mower.

Our old lawn mower decided that I wasn’t taking the hint to fix it, and decided to shed most of its bolts. With just one bolt left holding the motor to the ‘deck’, and the whole thing really in need of an overhaul, I decided to look finally into getting the beast repaired.

I asked the lovely people at Garden Assist, who they would recommend – they put me in touch with KGM down in Winchester. I gave them a ring and found out that repairs start around £60. I was also considering paying Garden Assist to mow my lawn in the meantime (it was quite long, as it had been growing ever since before we left on our holiday at the end of May).

Right, time to consider “saving” that money and looking into a new mower instead.

I decided to pop in to KGM after the kids’ Saturday swim lesson last week. I chatted with Richard, who turns out to be the company’s Managing Director. He showed me a couple of new mowers after I explained to him how lazy I wanted to be.

Of course, I was immediately attracted to the most expensive Al-Ko mower. It was bling. Red. Big engine. Folding handle. Throttle. Mulch. Side vent. And most important of all, it was self-propelled. In short, it had “go faster stripes” — a phrase that Zebra uses in one of Tosha’s 64 Zoo Lane books.

I wanted Go-Faster-Stripes.

Grass is green. Mower is red.

Bling.

Vrrrooomm.

Zed the Zebra at 64 Zoo Lane has go-faster-stripes.

Oh the marketing was working well on me.

Then the price hit. Ouch. So, I kindly asked Richard to write up a bit of info and he gave me a copy of the Al-Ko catalogue to take home. He probably thought he’d never see me again.

I read the catalogue cover to cover. Even the bit at the end where it has tractors (I love tractors – I drive one down on our Millennium Meadow to cut their fields, from time to time; sometimes we have a picnic. That’s then called a ‘Power Picnic’)

Anyway. I rang Richard back a couple days later and asked him for quotes on a couple other mowers, hopefully lower down the pecking order. One still had go-faster-stripes. But it was on a steel deck instead of an aluminium one.

Quite why Al-Ko charge about £150 more for the a mower that has an aluminium deck and smaller blade, with a less powerful engine, I just couldn’t figure out. Yes, the catalogue tried to explain how good the aluminium is, how it makes it quieter (but nowhere did I find dB(A) measurements), and how this or that. But it wasn’t enough for me to justify the huge extra cost.

So, now it was down to a mower without go-faster-stripes, and one with. I found enough guts to press Richard for his best price on them. He came back with a fair price on both. There was about £100 between them.

I really want go-faster-stripes. Besides, that one also had some other features that I could justify me paying the extra. Once sold on go-faster-stripes, looking back is just too tough. I might as well just go for the repair job!

No. Had to have the go-faster-stripes.

I rang Richard again. I told him my wife says I should get the one without the go-faster-stripes. But I really want the go-faster-stripes. I tell him not to tell her that I am about to buy the go-faster-stripes mower. He takes my credit card details and promises it will be ready for pickup the next day – they’ll even take it out of the shipping boxes, put it together and run it up to be sure all is fine.

I have bought go-faster-stripes!!

I ring my wife. Katya, could you pick up a new mower? Does it have go-faster-stripes? she asks.

I can’t lie to her. It might, I say.

She picks it up on the way home from work.

I arrive home on my normal train. Where is my go-faster-stripes mower? I didn’t see it in the boot of the car. I didn’t see it in front of the garage. I didn’t see it in the back garden. Where is my go-faster-stripes mower?

Katya! Did you pick up my go-faster-stripes mower?

Yes. Where? Ah! There it is. She had put it in the front hall. Where else?

It had lovely go-faster-stripes.

It was raining outside.

I put it into the garage, after pulling out the one-bolt-to-go mower. It would have to sit until the weekend.

The weekend came. Out came my go-faster-stripes.

It purred. It went fast. I will have to find some sticker stripes to put on the thing.

It also cut my long grass. Well.

I had the grass collector on. I got tired of having to trudge down to the bottom of my garden to empty the basted thing. I put on the mulching adaptor (another reason for me to buy a new mower – my one-bolt-to-go mower only had a grass collector).

But then. After some mulching. I took out the mulching adaptor, which was made of plastic, to put back the grass collector.

There it was: a hole in the plastic. Blast.

I will ring Richard and see if he will take pity on my go-faster-stripes. It was my first outing after all. They should make that adaptor out of metal. I don’t have a golf course lawn. Most people don’t (do they?).

Go-faster-stripes is my new happiness. Even with the bit of broken plastic.

Update! I got a replacement mulching adaptor today. Alas it is raining so no mowing today. Off to the Festival’s Fete instead…

Label from the go-faster-stripes Al-Ko mower.

KGM sells lots of Al-Ko mowers.

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