I’ve been climbing up trees with a chainsaw again. I don’t know why I do it. It’s irresponsible, particularly with my clumsiness.
Already, typically of this column, I have told a lie. I do know why I do it: I need to let more light into the garden.
I used to pay travelling people, who came round the doors, to do the work, but now I do it myself. Oddly enough, the travellers used to do every tree in about 40 minutes total, and I was frequently critical of their work: “You missed a branch.”
Hitherto, it has taken me the best part of two years to work my way along the trees, and the results are far from smooth. Still, as light starts to flood the garden, I can look on with a certain sense of satisfaction.
It has been a hard slog. The trees aren’t particularly tall, but I’m having to lop off six to eight feet in height. After my own safety, I worry about that of passers-by. I take precautions, tying where possible tree to nearby tree, but the whole business is still edgy, and I dread a bunch of foliage falling the wrong way.
My ladders aren’t tall enough for a start. Yesterday, as I write, I’d to stand on the very top of the ladder – not the rung, the actual top of the ladder – then bound up from that to stand on a slim branch, as I reached upwards, this time with an ordinary saw as I’d just read about a professional tree surgeon being killed when his chainsaw bounced back at his throat.
The chainsaw makes a far better job than hand-sawing, but it’s a right palaver getting it up the tree. Mine is electric, so I need to run a whole load of connecting cables up the garden, one of which always fails to work.
So, I have been sawing away, and it is right hard work. Usually, at some point, as my arms ache and I begin to panic about the tree falling the wrong way and it’s beginning to rain, I say, “Never again”. Sometimes, I say worse things, which comes a surprise to passers-by, who look up into the foliage with horror.
Most recently, that horror was compounded by the fact that my right hand was bloody from a cut and, worse still, I’d earlier made a right botch of trimming my hair (no, madam, not with a chainsaw), had a maniacal look on my face, and was wearing overalls covered in multi-coloured paint. Personally, I’m surprised no one alerted a constable.
But the job is getting there. As I type, sun shines through the window, where before it could not get through, and the smaller plants in the garden are eagerly lapping up the rays.
Of course, I feel guilty at mangling the trees. Typical human hypocrite: communing with my favourite trees on the hill, while blootering those on my demesne.
To be fair, I apply salve to the cut bark, and tell myself the carnage is good for the rest of the garden. Besides, some of these beasties are evil brutes whose branches slap me in the face.
It could be worse, though. And, next time, I think I’ll get a man in.