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Summer is Here

For most of us the summer is now in full swing. The garden is tidy, the barbeque has had at least a couple of outings, everything is lush & colourful and we’ve seen plenty of the sun. Do you remember last year? After the festivities and downpours that accompanied the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of the late Queen Elizabeth II it didn’t rain for about 3 months. Fantastic!! Some would say but as the grass turned brown and temperatures started sky rocketing into the high 30’s and beyond, most of us were wondering if this was actually the British summer we really dreamed of.

Last year certainly made many people think about what happens when the temperature increases for long period of time. From nights without sleep, hosepipe bans and water shortages, dry, cracked ground, dead grass and even wildfires in some parts of the country. Maybe long hot summers are not really what we want. Certainly, at Fenland Spirit Services we found that months without rain resulted in our customers not using their lawnmowers, not breaking their mowers and not looking to replace their mowers. As we have probably mentioned to many of you, this was our most difficult year since Stuart started the business, especially since it was then followed by a rather long winter, you may remember the snow in March!

Changes in Our Team

As a result of this challenging weather and subsequent lack of customers in the second half of last year we have made some changes. We are working different hours in the workshop with a smaller team for whom we are very grateful. This spring we have also said goodbye to the lovely Bernie who has moved up-norf with her family and our son Matthew will be making his way in the big bad world having finished 6th form so after helping us since before the pandemic he will no longer be our Saturday boy.

Sad though these changes are, we are delighted to welcome Anna & Vince into our small business. Some of you will already have spoken to Anna who has years of retail experience and understands the mower industry being married to a salesman from one of our competitors. Vince will be starting college in September doing mechanics and we look forward to helping him learn the ropes, belts & pullies as our part time workshop assistant. Check out their smiling faces below.

We must be careful what we wish for though as when April dawned so many of you opened your sheds trying to start your mowers. Our phone started ringing and has pretty much not stopped since. As I write this in mid June we have seen over 200 walk behind mowers and nearly 100 ride on mowers in the last 2 months. We still have nearly 30 ride on mowers waiting to come into the workshop which we are working hard to get through. Like you, we want them in your garden or paddock cutting your grass not in our workshop or waiting for collection. Parts from some suppliers have been incredibly slow this year and our small team has dealt admirably with helping our customers as quickly as we can.

We Want to Help You

Where possible we have been helping customers over the phone, asking you to bring batteries in for us to test or tyres in for puncture repairs. These simple and speedy solutions have helped many of you get back to cutting the grass quicker. We would like to thank the large number of our wonderful customers who responded to our winter email or text and got your mower serviced before spring arrived. If you are a new customer or have had to wait this year when we have been so busy we ask you to please book your mower in during the winter for service or at least keep your eyes peeled for our email or text in the new year. We want to help everyone and genuinely hate making people wait. Ride on mower collections have been up to 4 weeks and walk behind turn around time 2 weeks due to space even with our 144sqm workshop.

Our Advice to Keep You Mowing

In order to help us to help you please follow our suggestions below which will keep your mower working better.

  • Get your blades spinning before going into grass. Starting the mower in long grass can burn the cutting belt.
  • Try to cut no more than 1/3 of the length of the grass and cut longer grass slowly. Cutting short & fast is likely to damage the mower and this will cost you more time & money.
  • Look out for & avoid brambles. Those thorns are just looking to put a hole in your tyre. Keep pressures around 15 PSI, too hard will bounce you & the mower around potentially causing damage to the machine.
  • Cut in an anticlockwise direction if side exiting. This blows the grass onto the area just cut not onto where you’re about to cut, putting less stress on the mower
  • Check your oil level regularly, we advise every 4-6 hours of cutting. Topping up with 10w40 oil is OK for most mowers, this is fairly common oil which you may already have in the garage so you don’t need to buy expensive special oil.
  • Clean out under your mower after use, grass can block up inside the deck, stalling the blade and in the long run causing the deck to rust & make holes.
  • Don’t use E10 petrol! We advise E5 which is also known as super-plus unleaded but be careful where you buy it, we’ve had E5 from a local supermarket which had started phase separation. We also recommend Aspen fuel and are happy to advise on it’s use in both mowers and 2 stroke equipment. Most problems with small engine equipment from chainsaws to ride on mowers comes down to fuel, in particular with the increased ethanol content in modern petrol.

If in doubt please give us a call, we are happy to advise. If we can get you up & running with free advice we are pleased to do so and if you need to bring your machinery to us please bear with us as we get through them as quickly as we can and be aware that some parts are taking longer than we would like to arrive causing bottlenecks in the workshop.

Finally, we thank you for spending the time to read our newsletter, for continuing to support our small business and for your understanding when we are busy. We must be careful what we wish for and be grateful for what we receive. Have a lovely summer one and all.