Turning Point by Beth Irvine: Make my day

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“Every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake . . .” sang Mary Poppins. It’s obvious she didn’t live in my world! Some days it seems that everything I try to do is fraught with complication.

Take vacuuming, for example – and personally, I always opt for the other choice when there is one! I have never met a vacuum cleaner I could get along with. Why is it that the suction power that won’t lift a few strands of cat hair off the carpet will try to draw in stray socks, only to choke on them? I have spent more hours with broom handles and straightened out coat hangers trying to dislodge whatever the brainless vacuum has stifled itself on than I have vacuuming. Often, when you get right down to brass tacks, the poor machine has obstructed itself with something that should normally pose no problem: for instance, toothpicks or dog fur. Just let both of them into the hose at the same time, however, and you’ve got a clog that would make any self-respecting broom handle splinter into tears.

The main virtue of such a machine is also its major fault: it sucks dirt. A machine may make the process of removing dust and crumbs from the floor more efficient but you are still left with the problem of what to do with the dirt once it’s collected inside the vacuum. If it’s in a specially designed collection bag, it’s not an unpleasant task, but you have to be organized enough to make sure you have an adequate supply on hand; if it’s a shop vac, you have to be prepared to deal with whatever is in the canister, barehanded. With a central vac, there is the same challenge: once the vacuumed stuff has accumulated in the collection chamber, it still has to be dealt with. Don’t you agree a broom and dustpan deliver satisfaction—even when the power is off! You can even simply dump the dustpan outside. The ants will take care of the rest.

Today was also the day to mow the lawn. For years, I struggled with a gas mower. I always had to make a sure a neighbour was home to start it for me ­– cantankerous nuisance! There were times when I thought it was the brand or design that was at fault but I came to realize that mowers do not like me. Besides not being any more eager than I to get at the job, they are LOUD! Did you know they have mufflers?

Then I tried an electric mower: Light, easy to manoeuvre, quieter than the gas one. The mower person has to watch out for that extension cord, though. Turns out all power mowers are quite particular about their sources of power.

Now I have a neat push unit from Lee Valley. It’s so light, I can pick it up with one hand . . . and so quiet, I can still hear the birds sing.


Geographic location: Lee Valley

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