When we returned from Thanksgiving in Anchorage, there were about 6cm of new snow on the ground. Time to plow out the driveway. The Clockwork Orange had been giving me a few problems. While trying to horse the thing around, I remembered the wheel lock on the contraption -- it is used to facilitate turns, for the average suburban snowblower-jockey. OK, squeeeze the handle and release. That should unlock the wheel -- and ol' Clockwork took off!
Moral: never assume anything. I assumed the whaeel lock was off. Had I tried this before, it would have saved me a lot of blood, toil, sweat and tears, to quote Sir Winston Churchill. Incredible. But now it was clear that I only had half a blower. Only the right half of the auger was working. Aha, said I, it broke a shear pin. Sure enough. The next day my son and I (a) replaced the shear pin and (b) raised the skids of the ground 30mm. This is because I have an uneven gravel driveway. Amazing! A new machine is born.
As you can see, it blows the snow high, wide and handsome; so well did it behave that my son and I decided that a renaming was in order, and it is now Horatio Snowblower. I feel much more confident about dealing with winter snows after this episode. The above photo was taken before we raised the skids; now you don't have to do anything but hold down the two clutches (one controls the drive, the other engages the auger and second stage).