One of my most important tools of my job is my lawn mower. I have over 1.5 hectares of land mostly laid to lawn and it takes me around 4.5 hours per week to keep the grass cut neatly. The tool for the job is a sit-on lawnmower with a cutting width of 120cm and three rotary blades. The cut grass can either be mulched by attaching a flap over the exit hole, which forces it back into the blades to be chopped up further and left on the lawn, or collected through a side mounted tube which throws the clippings up over the back of the mower into three collecting bins mounted at the back.

When I bought the mower they told me that it wasn’t quite big enough for the size of the ground, but at 3,500 euros, I considered that it was within my budget, whereas the alternative started at 10,000 euros. Mistake!

I have been riddled with problems with this mower, drive belts breaking regularly, pulleys needing replacing, springs breaking. I think that (a) its not a brilliant machine (badged generic mower with Briggs and Stratton Engine) and the work that it does it just cannot cope with.

This weekend, after a short holiday away from the gites, I tried to mow – the battery was flat, so I jump started it from my car. I mowed for about 5 minutes and the blades cut out (after a bit of investigation, this was also due to no power in the battery. I charged the battery overnight, but no joy. I bought a new battery and charged it, then started to mow again. After 10 minutes, the secondary (but also important) drive belt for the mower bed snapped.

I managed to find another belt at my local lawn mower shop and I fitted it today -it took around 2 hours.

The main problem with my lawns is that they are sown on what was farm land, very well cultivated and heavily fertilised with nitrates during the 1970s, before the Agricultural control boards began to regulate the use of fertilizers. Nitrates promote green growth in plants, ie lots of grass!

Whilst I was in the lawn mower shop, they informed me that a customer who has 5 hectares of land around a lake had bought a Wolf A100K, a semi professional mower with ability to cut and collect wet grass. This customer has found that this model is not big enough for his land, so he wants to buy the next model up, he is selling his second hand 25hour usage mower for 8,000 euros. A lot of money, but one of the most important tools of my job.

I havent decided whether to buy or not yet, I can go and try the mower out first, then decide. I’ll post the result.