Homo Strimmerus

 

Sir, – I actually find Patrick Judge’s suggestion (Letters, July 22nd) of summer Five-a-Scythe competitions in neighbourhoods to be a bit grim, though some areas may reap benefits. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN AHERN,

Clonsilla,

Dublin 15.

Sir, – While I have some sympathy for people whose rural or suburban idyll is ruptured by the buzzing of strimmers, chainsaws, leaf blowers and other two-stroke horrors, it is often necessary to cut roadside vegetation back for safety reasons, ie to ensure good sightlines out of gateways or on narrow bends on the road. Formerly the verges of country roads were kept clear by individuals grazing their stock on the “long acre” but this practice has died out in most parts of the country. The lot has thus fallen on the broad shoulders of Homo Strimmerus. Objectionable as this may be, it is positively benign when compared to the widespread use of weedkiller for the same purpose.

There are few sights more disheartening than that of a poisoned stretch of road frontage which speaks of laziness, a lack of care for the environment, and the same mania for tidiness that induces people to hang plastic bags off the eaves of their houses to deter nesting house martins.

Cutting back roadside vegetation may pose a short-term nuisance from noise and smell but in the longer term, it is infinitely preferable the use of whatever “napalm” the garden centres, co-ops and hardware shops are peddling. It is high time the use of such chemicals were limited to the most exceptional circumstances, eg Japanese knotweed, rather than in routine maintenance.

Drivers should also note that Homo Strimmerus is rendered temporarily deaf by the act of strimming, and is unlikely to hear approaching vehicles. He should therefore be approached and passed with the utmost caution. – Yours, etc,

MATTHEW LLOYD,

Bruff,

Co Limerick.