No one wanted to know about my new lawn. But that didn’t stop me telling them all about it

My wife had wanted to AstroTurf our back garden this summer, but I said no: it had to be real grass, so that our kids could experience worms and soil and nature, even though I find worms and soil (and most of nature) disgusting when it is not on TV. I won the argument, which meant that I – the world’s worst gardener – was charged with maintaining a new lawn. I resolved to make sure that my wife could never say: “I told you we should have got AstroTurf.”

The process of digging up the rotten tree stumps and laying down fresh turf in the baking heat was extremely arduous (for the gardener – I just watched him while sipping an ice-cold cider). But my real problems were yet to come. Before long, I was spending an hour every day with my hose, trying to out-sprinkle the sun and kick this lawn into life. Amazingly, it started to grow, but it also started doing weird things – bare spots would appear, patches would turn unusual colours. On one occasion, a small area became covered in weird, translucent slime overnight (I still have no clue what that was). Watching things deteriorate despite the time I was putting in became incredibly stressful. “There’s no point,” I would announce to my wife, melodramatically. “It’s clearly all dying.”

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