I’ve made another irrational purchase. Two in fact. The second need not detain us. It’s a tin of wood stain that I bought for the floors. Purchased online, it arrived next day, and turned out to be for exterior use only.
Consulting yonder internet, folk said you couldn’t use exterior stains and paints indoors because they contained chemicals forbidden indoors. Bilge possibly, and there was some disagreement, but I’m not going to risk it.
The stain is dark oak, and as all my exterior woods are painted in bright colours, it’ll just have to sit in the shed until a dull person walks by and I can say: “Would you like this boring exterior paint for your boring brown shed?”
The other purchase was a more serious calamity: ladders. I know, I know: I already have two sets of ladders and, recently, got rid of another. It’s an expensive and space-consuming hobby, ladder-collecting.
I do have a purpose in mind for this new set, but know in my bones that they won’t meet the spec anyway. The job? But surely you have guessed: it’s that tall pine tree at the top of the garden that needs cut down to size.
Seven times have I ascended the beast with a selection of saws, swinging from branch to branch like some suburban orang utan. The last time, I reached my highest point ever but still couldn’t make the cut.
The reason is that I can’t see along the pavement and, if the tree falls the wrong way, it might clobber a passer-by or even a car.
Sometimes, I’ve thought, “Oh to hell, just get on with it”, and then have noticed a quiet child amble by reading poetry and querulously have considered: “The tree might have fallen on that infant.” I picture myself appearing in court, the bandage-headed child present with its sobbing parents, and the attendant newspaper headlines screaming contemptuously: “DIY dope mangled child in botched tree job.”
So I decided I couldn’t do it and would have to get a man, or men, in. Alas, the price proved beyond me, so I decided anew to do it myself but, this time, I’d get taller ladders, which would allow me to do the job from the pavement side, where I could hack away when all was clear.
I’ll be quite candid with you here and confess that I still don’t think it’ll work. The prospect of disaster still looms large, and an image presents itself of my own bonce swathed in bandages.
At the time of writing, the ladders still haven’t arrived, but I don’t think I can cancel them, which I’m tempted to do, particularly as I can’t now get on with the job as I’m sure there are birds nesting nearby.
Now the nightmare is complete: me with my head in bandages, an infant decorated ditto, and Mr and Mrs Blackbird and their eggs similarly appearing as witnesses in court with their noggins bandaged as well.
The Catch 22 is that the tree is quite dangerous as it is, swinging about in storms and stiff breezes. Assuming these abate for summer, I’m determined to carry out the job in autumn, when you’ll be able to read about it in your newspaper’s round-up of court cases.