I am not happy. Someone has put a speed limit sign on our nature strip.
Actually I found it there a couple of years ago but I was reminded of its presence last week when I got our lawnmower out for the first time since autumn.
Spring is a wonderful season in Canberra.
The temperature is warming up and we have lots of blue skies.
But there is a downside.
A bit of rain and bit more sunshine and, WHOOSH, up comes the grass from its winter hibernation.
Before you know it, the suburbs and hills are alive with the monotonous sound of lawnmower music and an army of Von Trapp lookalikes on ride-on mowers invade our parks and road verges.
There has been talk lately on urban infill in Canberra.
But I ask you: do we all really want to live in inner-city apartment with not a blade of grass to mow?
I like mowing lawns. It gives me an excuse to walk about in a daydream.
I love nothing more than firing up the lawn mower and being at one with nature and grass clippings.
So when I saw last week that our nature strip had suddenly become a fire hazard, I seized the chance.
Some people work on the theory that once you cut the grass for the first time each spring, it is the start of a commitment: To Winter Do Us Part.
Other people warn that when you mow you use a whole range of muscles that you have not used over winter, and you should not rush into it lest you injure yourself.
I find, however, that the biggest hazard is discovering things on my lawn I never knew existed. Like the 60 kph sign which I bumped in to on my nature strip two years ago!
It was quite a shock. There I was, my mind in neutral, happily zig-zagging across the nature strip in the same pattern I had followed dozens of times before when I came to a rude halt as the metal of my lawnmower banged into the metal of the new pole.
"That's odd," I thought. "How did that get there?"
It certainly had not been there the previous summer.
My wife Katherine was happy to hear about it.
We live in a fairly busy street and the last thing she wants is hoons roaring by at any time of the day. We have a small son, a pet cat and a milkman who has very poor road sense.
But I find it cramps my style.
As I said, I like to mow in a daydream. But I also like to do it fast. Very fast.
Not only is there now a sign on my nature strip restricting my speed, but it is enforced.
There is often one of those white speed-camera vans parked in our street just waiting to catch me mowing over the limit.
It is a real pain in the grass.
©September 5, 2002, October 11, 2000
John Martin. All Rights Reserved
If you liked this short column perhaps you'll like my new comic fiction novel, which has nearly 250 pages of laughs. Check out the first chapter here free