There’s not been a lot of horticultural goings on in this blog lately because there hasn’t been a great deal of it going on in my life. A short while back I mentioned that my gardening mojo had returned from wherever it had vanished to, and this was clearly tempting fate, because as I said in my last blog post I’ve had a sequential series of illnesses.

This has meant that I have done very little beyond getting some seeds started. More concerned with trying to get well again, this has not bothered me anywhere near as much as the amount of work I have backing up, but it has been lurking at the back of my mind.

Lurking is probably a good word because my main horticultural concern is the amount of crap I’m going to get from the Site Stasi waiting in ambush down the allotment. You might think “Oh but they’ll understand if you say you’ve been ill for a month”. I should coco. I can guarantee I’ll be getting grief. If I’d broken both legs, I’d expect to be greeted with a derisive comment along the lines of “Couldn’t be bothered to get down her on crutches then?”

I had an idea of getting round this by using my rotavator. In hindsight this was probably a touch optimistic as the thing hadn’t been used for six, maybe seven years. But in the past fresh petrol and a clean of the plug has normally worked. Now I’m not normally a fan of rotavating, I don’t think it helps soil structure, the worms in it, or anything else apart from chopping up and helping propagate any weeds that may be present. Which is why mine has lain unused for so long.

As to the question of why do I have one in the first place? Well the answer to that is simple – it was free. the thing is with rotavators, they are a quick fix. And it was a quick fix I was needing. So I dragged it from the shed, drained the petrol from that tank and put fresh in. But even though it had been kept in warm dry conditions it wouldn’t start. Taking the plug out and giving it a clean I then left it for a while to allow the engine to dry out from all the petrol flooding it, before trying again.

Still no joy.

Time to get serious.

So I stripped of the casing with the starting cord, and after some banging and swearing removed the flywheel so that I could clean the points before putting it all back together. Still no luck. In the bright sunlight it was impossible to see whether there was any kind of spark.

At this point LB demanded help with the large mudpie that for some reason needed to be transferred into a plastic bottle, so I gave up for the day.

Later, after dusk I came out and gave the engine a couple of spins, and in the half light could see that there was a weak and intermittent spark. The next morning I took a good look at the spark plug and discovered that the core electrode was moving around. “Great”, I thought, “a new spark plug and away we go”. Actually what I thought was “Bugger, I’m going to have to go and get a new spark plug now”.

Getting one wasn’t that easy and meant sending the OH off to a village garden machinery shop, which did result in a new spark plug, but also the word ‘tosser’ and the phrases ‘never again’ and ‘irritating dimwit who tried to show off his knowledge of small machinery’.

Anyway I got the plug. “All down hill from here”, I thought.

Fit the plug, start the rotavator, then take it down the allotment, get the plot dug, planted and the job’s a good’un.

There was a small problem with this plan.

Even with the new plug I can’t get a spark.