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I awoke today and my first words were the same as they are everyday, "Good Morning World". Later as I sipped the tea my wife had placed beside my bed, she told me my only job for this Sunday morning was to give our lawn it's first cut of 2013. When I say lawn I should explain that is what my wife Jenny likes to call it shortly before she complains about the large amount of clover and weeds amongst the grass. I constantly irritate her by saying she must not think of it as a lawn, but more of a shaded and peaceful woodland glade, our very own secret forest meadow. Last year she decided to improve the grass with some combination of weed killer and lawn fertilizer and the result was three months of huge patches of a dead brown ugliness. How, I asked, could that compare to the vibrant green of the clover, moss, and dandelion weeds she had so cruelly murdered. So today I go out proudly to mow the woodland glade, looking forward to the abundance of gold that my celandine and dandelion flowers will soon provide.
Later, as I ate my boiled egg with toasted soldiers, I thought back to another lawn I had been told to cut, this one way back in 1966, the year England won the World Cup. It was also on a Sunday morning and the previous evening, just before I set out on my Saturday night binge, my brother Bob had informed me it was my turn to to mow the lawn. He also informed me I was to do it before breakfast the next morning. I never thought to argue with Bob and asked if I'm not up by 9am would he wake me. Needless to say it was a slightly worse for wear me that a grinning Bob awakened by sticking a clock in my face that said 9am. I cheerfully arose, got dressed, and commenced the mowing of our two lawns. I found it surprisingly quiet and realised it had been years since I'd been up so early on a Sunday. Looking up at the windows of the surrounding houses I saw all the curtains were still drawn and I remember thinking that none of these lazy sods are going to church. I have always enjoyed peace and quiet and I found myself enjoying the solitude as I carefully pushed our old mower up and down, trying to make the straight lines that would impress my older brother.
Eventually I finished and Bob came out and told me to go to the village paper shop to collect some item that my mother required. I set off looking forward to the fried breakfast that would await me on my return. To my surprise when I reached the shop I found it closed and I looked at my watch to see it was 10.20am. The sign on the door said the Sunday opening hours were 10am to 5pm so, when I peered through the windows and found no sign of activity, I quite naturally reached the conclusion that someone had overslept. I was told later by the shop owner that my loud knocking was overly enthusiastic and that, coupled with the fact that the time on his watch said 8.20am, made him very angry. He said I had awoken his wife early on the only day of the week she enjoyed a lay in and I was strongly advised to avoid her for the foreseeable future!
I obviously apologised, knowing immediately that my wicked brother had set me up and I returned home to discover that Bob had altered my watch while I slept. He had also put forward every clock in the house by two hours to ensure his trick worked. I wondered later how many of our neighbours who had been awoken at a few minutes past 7am that Sunday morning, had peered, bleary eyed, through a crack in their curtains to see what idiot was mowing his lawn. I know that when I did finally got to enjoy the special, Sunday morning, breakfast that morning, it would have contained an egg, some bacon, a sausage, fried bread, fried potatoes and a healthy portion of Tuffs family laughter. Who could wish for a better way to start their Sunday!