As I was noisily clearing up loads of wet leaves this morning I was reminded of the contrast with one of my heroes, Joseph Paxton. I remember as a youngster being highly impressed by the story of a visit by Queen Victoria to Chatsworth, Paxton was determined that the young Queen should see the gardens at their very best despite the tie of year meaning fallen leaves everywhere.
Of course there were no leave blowers then just teams of gardeners, and under gardeners with besoms. Besoms are still the best way too clear up leaves but they are a lot of hard work and since the success of the Harry Potter movies ridiculously expense. So teams of gardeners were unleashed, but Paxton didn't want the queen to be confronted by lots of rough gardeners on her walk, so they had to sweep up before she got out of bed. As a stickler for details Paxton now worried about disturbing the Queen's sleep, so he arranged for loads of extra large socks to be knitted for the gardeners to put on over their boots to muffle the noise they might make walking on the paths.
These days it is more likely to be the case that the gardener will be wearing ear defenders while using a two stroke blower, and tough luck to anyone else around.
It seems that a large portion of my work at the moment is clearing up leaves, and although I do know that a besom or a rake does a better job, the blower is just less effort and faster, maybe that is a metaphor for modern life.