As autumn takes a firm grip, Grandad At Large columnist Peter Barron looks back at how he’s had the best summer ever – with the help of a robot...

IS it just me or are the summers getting shorter? The older I get, the quicker the sunny weather seems to give way to an icy blast and gloomy evenings.

But, while Bryan Adams may sing about the Summer of ‘69, I can honestly say I'll remember the Summer of '17 with particular affection.

That’s because, for the first time in decades, I haven’t had to spend precious time cutting the grass.

It’s all down to having an ingenious little friend to do the job for me in the streamlined form of a Husqvarna Automower 430x, manufactured down the road at Newton Aycliffe, and supplied by Sam Turner & Sons.

I’ve been writing about the experience throughout the summer and I quickly came to the conclusion that I couldn’t bear to part with the Auto-mower, which I named Mow Farah because it just keeps on going, whatever the conditions.

Mow Farah lives in a docking station in the garden, where he re-charges himself and then comes out to cut the grass on a pre-programmed schedule. He's guided by wires – buried just beneath the surface around the perimeter of the lawn – which act as sensors and he cuts so finely and so often that there are never any cuttings to collect. It all just happens as if by magic.

And, towards the end of the summer, we’ve been able to experience a new dimension to his impressive performance. The guys from Sam Turner’s came round and swiftly connected him to an app on my wife’s phone.

It could just as easily have been my phone but my wife likes to be in control so she decided that it would be better if she had the power in her hands.

As a result, she’s able to make any adjustments she likes from the comfort of her armchair. For example, she’s just decided that, now the colder weather’s arrived, the length of Mow Farah’s blade needed adjusting. It was done in seconds without her having to move anything other than her finger.

“Ooh, I could get used to this,” she said, as she watched through the window at Mow Farah obeying all her instructions from afar.

I could read her mind…

“Dear Husqvarna (and Sam Turner) now you’ve cracked the Automower, could you please put your clever minds to producing an Autohusband controlled by an app on my phone? I’d like him to do the washing-up, vacuuming, toilet cleaning and make the beds at regular intervals. I’d also like him to be able to sense when I’d like a glass of white wine (chilled). Oh, and could you please make him look as much like George Clooney as possible.”

Having seen Mow Farah in action, I’ve come to the conclusion that anything’s possible. But, in the meantime, my wife will have to make do with her old model and live with ever after.