Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Why do we put up with that satanic machine, the leaf-blower?

Sorry to sound like a lame stand-up comedian, but, leaf-blowers – what’s that all about? We were just leaving Chiswick House grounds earlier today, having enjoyed lunch in the café, when a workman wielding one of these infernal devices passed us on our way to the exit. A minute later, from further down the path, came that familiar, maddening sound, like someone holding the throttle open on an old-fashioned 2-stroke motorbike (I know - I used to own one).

There were dozens of people enjoying the beauty and tranquillity of the lovely, peaceful park when this repulsive racket started – all but the profoundly deaf will have had their soul-enriching sorties ruined. 

And for what? It’s March, for God’s sake – the &x@*ing leaves are still on the %*@”ing trees!

Besides, ever heard of a rake?

Near-neighbours, who have a larger garden than anyone else in the immediate vicinity, employ a gardening company to come in once a week and give their relatively extensive estate a short back-and-sides: this means the rest of get to enjoy 90 minutes of high-pitched nerve-shredding noise – in stereo, no less, because, inevitably,  they use a hedge-trimmer as well. 

This monstrous and utterly unnecessary noise pollution will now continue once a week until late November.

“Neighbours- everybody needs good neighbours!” 

The portable leaf-blower (which my wife refers to, accurately, as “the devil’s machine”) was invented in America in the late 1950s by one Dom Quinto, as a crop-spraying device. According to Wikipedia (yes, I know!) its use as a domestic gardening implement spread due a drought in California, which meant water couldn’t be used for basic gardening tasks. By 1990, annual sales in the US had exceeded 800,000. Twenty California cities have now banned the device, and a further 80 US cities have restricted its use or noise level – or both.

I can’t find anything online about restrictions in the UK, which is odd, given that this used to a nice quiet country where neighbours showed consideration for each other (or am I imagining this?) 

Welcome to the New Barbarism.

If one were to remove a leaf-blower from the hands of the next peace-wrecker to wield one within earshot and then proceeded to insert it firmly up their jacksie, would any jury in the country actually bring in a “guilty” verdict? I expect the judge’s Stockbroker Belt mansion might ring to the din of these vile, pointless machines (while he’s not there, of course) – but I bet no one on the jury would own a garden big enough to warrant one. 

I wonder if the concept of using the machine as an Internal Organ-Blower is patentable.

Worth investigating.


  1. You are wrong on every count,sir. Leaf Blowers are environmentally friendly. It is a well known fact that they actually reduce pollution. In addition, they are almost noiseless. Any more of these unfounded allegations and I’ll be seeing you in court. The fact that I happen to be the owner of the Leaf Blowers ‘R’ Us chain (slogan, 'The Louder The Better') is entirely beside the point. You should know that I also happen to be the live-in lover of a prominent Liberal Democrat politician and am not to be toyed with, except by him of course.
    Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 12:15 PM

  2. They are a means whereby the rich (at least, those with large gardens and the wherewithal to pay people to tend them) can annoy poorer neighbours in smaller properties.

    Would you deny them that small pleasure?
    Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 02:20 PM

  3. See my previous comment on Geräuschempfindlichkeit.

    In Switzerland, if you live in an apartment block and are of the male sex, you are required by law to sit down whilst urinating after 2300 and it is forbidden to mow your lawn on Sunday.
    Thursday, March 24, 2011 - 10:50 AM

  4. Agreed, Guy – but by the same token, would you deny me the pleasure of attacking people who annoy me? We all have needs.

    SDG, are you sure it isn’t illegal to pee while standing on your lawn or mow your apartment after 11.30pm? All very sensible rules, in any case.
    Saturday, March 26, 2011 - 07:40 PM