Grandpa Webb's blog

Monday, 11 November 2013

Where would I get a helicopter for £39?

Normally I don’t buy stuff on the doorstep from cold callers. So when I opened the front door to find a young man standing there clutching a large folder, I was ready to say: “Thanks – but no thanks.”

Grandpa WebbBut instead of opening up with the usual “We are in your area today and wondered whether we could interest you in tree lopping/cavity wall insulation/roof renovation/ tarmac for the front drive,” the man simply said: “I am a helicopter pilot.”

I like helicopters and I suppose by inference I like the people who drive them. I listened on. The conversation went something like this:

“I was flying over this area with a friend of mine who is a photographer. He takes high definition pictures, and to get the best results he hangs out of the side of the helicopter. He took one of your house; would you like to see it?”

“Well, um – yes.”

From the folder he produced a colour photo of our house taken from about 1000 feet. Where would I get a helicopter for £39?Forget Google Earth, this was so sharp you could almost see the individual blades of grass (perhaps I exaggerate a little) but it was really sharp. What’s more it was already mounted in a wooden frame. All it needed was a hook to hang it on the wall of my house.

“Um, how much do you want for it?”

“Thirty-nine pounds,” said the pilot.

It occurred to me that if I passed up this opportunity and changed my mind later, where would I get a helicopter and a photographer with a high resolution camera, willing to hang out the side and photograph my house, all for £39?

Money changed hands and the picture now hangs in the hall where it is much admired.

Two days later my daughter Sarah, who lives up the road, telephoned.  “Guess what? We just had a call from a helicopter pilot who has taken a super picture of our house...”

When viewed from 1000 feet my back lawn looks immaculate, but it doesn’t look so good at ground level. We live in a valley and the lawn stays damp for long periods in the winter. Moss likes damp conditions and the lawn has reached the stage where it’s mainly composed of moss, except where the occasional blade of grass has struggled through.

When I had a full-time job I didn’t think much about the lawn. As long as it was green and relatively short, I didn’t care what it was composed of. I even laughed when the man next door put moss killer on his lawn which turned it black for a month until the grass grew through.

I think it is mainly pensioners who worry about their lawn. The trouble is we have more time to spend in the garden. And when the mower grinds to a stop because it’s clogged with moss, we begin to think about what we can do about it, rather than cursing the mower, restarting it and pressing on.Where would I get a helicopter for £39?

According to my internet research, dosing the affected areas will kill the moss, but unless the underlying cause is sorted out – in my case waterlogged grass and compacted soil – it will be back.

So I am looking at the possibility of a new lawn care regime. This could involve grass seed, some sort of moss killer, and maybe the hire of an aerator and a scarifier to get rid of the dead moss. It sounds like a lot of work and at the moment it’s on the back burner, along with demolishing the shed and building a new one, and learning how to set up my favourite TV channels on the new video recorder.

If I do get round to it, I’ll let you know how I get on.

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