• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 10
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How to take a lawnmower home on the tube

They gave him dirty looks as he blocked the tube door, shedding his rucksack and the box of files he’d lashed to the lawnmower. They had finally slid sideways, meaning he had to unstrap it. He pulled the electric cord of the mower inside the tube just before the doors shut.
Getting inside the tube station was the first hurdle. He considered taking a run at the barriers to get the lawnmower through, but realised it was too wide to fit the ordinary barrier. Besides, a queue of people waited. He’d have to use the barrier meant for suitcases where a TFL train worker stood idly watching people bundle large luggage and pushchairs through. What would they say to a lawnmower with a file box strapped to it?
He waited for a lull and as the station worker turned away to reach for something in his little box office, he made a run for it, slapped his pass on the reader and the barriers sprang open. He was through and ignored the ‘Hey!’ and headed for the first escalator.
He’d dismissed the idea of using the lift to the platform as they were always bulging with families and oversized suitcases, the old in the slow move lane trying to push an extra into an eight to ten people lift. No, he didn’t want that.
He’d watched mothers manoeuvre pushchairs onto the escalator. How hard could it be? The lawnmower wouldn’t fit sideways or it blocked the left-hand lane where impatient people always scrambled hell-for-leather. So, he got the front wheels on to the step in front of him and had to hold the handle and the weight as they descended. At the bottom, the person behind him crashed into him as he tried to lift and push the lawnmower off the step. A stream of angry expletives met his ears. He also got the back of heels scraped in the process. Why did people stand so close behind others on the escalator? He always left room between himself and the person in front. This was essential when you took a lawnmower on it.


How to take a lawnmower home on the tube

He waited at the second set of escalators hoping for a gap in traffic. People passing either laughed at him or gave him weird looks. Without a car, how else was he to get this lot home? The bus driver had flatly refused for him to board with a lawnmower. Once down the second escalator, it was just a matter of manoeuvring the blessed thing down a short flight of stairs and onto the platform.
And now he was safely on the tube with all the sidelong stares and muttering. But he didn’t care. He’d never have to come this way again. He was free now. He’d got what he wanted from his mother’s house. The rest could go for house clearance. He would never have to go back to that dreadful house anymore.