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The British Club of owning a ride on lawn mower

Grass Clippings - Quentin Letts - The Daily MailHut doors open — check. Petrol levels topped — check. Oil gauge scrutinised, throttle to choke — check. You make sure your rotors are raised, your right foot is down on the clutch pedal. You turn the ignition and there comes that satisfying, chugging cough before the engine barks into furious action.

It is at this moment that, sitting on my ride-on mower, I start humming the theme tune to Thunderbirds and reverse my orange Husqvarna out of her lair. Gently does it over that ramp.

There is, you see, a certain sniffiness in the lawn-care world about these gleaming chariots of middle-class machismo reports Quentin Letts in The Daily Mail this week.

Then, after a final A-ok with my imaginary ground-staff and a word with International Rescue control tower, full revs! Or as the great Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story says: ‘To infinity . . . and beyond!’

Time for dandelions and daisies to go to sleep with the fishes. Time to mow.


The Mail’s diarist Sebastian Shakespeare reported recently that David Cameron has bought himself a ride-on mower. Prime Minister, welcome to this most British of clubs. I cannot think of a better way for you to escape the cares of high office.

Once you are sitting on top of that throbbing beauty, all those worries about Ukraine, Afghanistan and next year’s General Election will fade to the back of your frazzled mind.

All you will be able to think about is your choice of cutting height and the curse of molehills.

Whoahonkkk! You soon know when you have gone over a molehill.

Then there is the large and psychologically illuminating matter of your stripes. That is, the stripes on your lawn.

I must confess that I am not great at stripes. Some blokes create perfect geometric patterns, but I tend to take things a bit too fast, cut too many corners. There’s the typical slapdash journalist for you.

You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character from the state of his lawn. This may be unkind, but I suspect that Mr Cameron’s stripes may prove a bit ragged at the edges, too.

We are often told that the Englishman’s home is his castle, but more than that, the British man’s garden can become his race-track.

When I made a Radio 4 programme about lawnmowers last year, we did not really touch on ride-ons.  In fact our Managing Editor, Mike Seaton, met up with Quentin and his lawns to take part in the BBC Radio Four programme What's the point of Lawns.

Read more in Quentin Lett's column in The Daily Mail.

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