So the dogs were left indoors safely out of the way and out came the power washer - it is an 'own brand' one from B&Q and has been one of my better equipment purchases. It does the job nicely and cost less than the comparative named brands. Although you can buy various products to apply to patios and paths to clean them, I'm always wary of those which carry instructions that tell you that although it is a 'pet friendly' product you shouldn't let your pet walk on it for a certain period of time. A presssure washer uses nothing but water, so provided you leave your pet indoors while working so he cannot accidentally get blasted, I'm happy that it is entirely safe. The only down side is that it does tend to blast the mortar out of the cracks - another job for next year - but it was loose anyway, I suppose. And happily the painstakingly cultivated moss between other paving slabs seems to have survived the experience!
The patio will obviously never look like new again (although I'm not sure I should like it to) but it is much brighter and cheerier - and more importantly still, is now safe for both two and four legged folk to walk on.
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