I had a particularly unusual day off this past Wednesday, and felt that some of you might find some of the details amusing in some small way.
Therefore, what follows is a potted version of the events of the day.
At 8:31AM I awoke to the sound of my mother bustling about downstairs, and occasionally yelling at the top of her lungs to wrest me from the tender
arms of slumber, which had previously enveloped my consciousness. As I ascended from the depts of my restful repose, I clambered into my dressing
gown, and began the morning procession, from bedroom to bathroom, bathroom to kitchen, kitchen to bedroom, there to consume a hot beverage before
falling into some assortment of clothing.
I knew that although it was my day off, I would have to put in some hours at work, if only to give my mother time to assemble an overnight bag for
our friend, who has had a stroke and is currently in hospital. So as I gathered the pieces of myself from around my bedroom, and connected them
together to form an apparent whole, I readied myself for the potential experiences ahead. I also knew I had a driving lesson, due at eleven o'clock,
something I was looking forward to immensely.
Nine o'clock found me at the counter, preparing the ledger book. Several cups of tea, a gaggle of customers, a repair to the sashlock on our back
door, and two hours later, saw me pacing back and forth at the door, eager to get on with my driving lesson. Of course, my instructor (a smashing
fellow originating in the West Indies I believe) has not been less than ten minutes late for a lesson yet, and so when he arrived twenty minutes
later, I was not in the least surprised. Since I am hardly the most organisationally adept human being ever born, I could not see my way to chastising
him over it!
In any case, as we walked back to his car (he had come in to say hello to my mother), he asked me if I would not mind giving him a hand with a tree
problem he was having, and since my instructor and I have become firm friends, I agreed immediately. The lesson itself went without a hitch, smooth
gear changes, and good foresight carrying me through the lesson in good order. As the lesson came to a close, my instructor bade me drive to his home,
that we might take stock of the nature of the trees which needed attending to.
As we stepped outside, the nature of the problem became obvious. Those trees belonged to his elderly neighbour, who had requested that he remove them
for her, what with the lady being physically incapable of doing the work herself, and fiscally incapable of having it done by professionals. They were
also at least the height of the houses surrounding the area. The trees were bare of foliage, not having quite gotten around to springing forth yet,
and this was a great boon to us in our endeavour, allowing us to see what we were doing without having to peer through thick vegetation.
It was at roughly this point, that I was read in on the exact situation where these trees were concerned, and precisely what my role would be in
removing them. Basically, my driving instructor, who is a rather vertically challenged gentleman to say the least of it, revealed to me that he has an
abject fear of heights, and sheepishly asked me if I wouldn't mind being the one to climb the ladder, and making the actual cuts to its flesh. When I
had agreed to this, he told me that what he needed us to get done, was to cut the top ten to fifteen feet off the trees. The rest, he assured me, he
could manage himself at his leisure.
This meant that we had to get the long ladders out. They were possibly the heaviest ladders I have ever encountered. They were not unliftable by any
means, but attempting to angle them against the tree at full stretch however, was a complete mother of ten bastards to do! When they had been erected,
I clenched the dull side of a handsaw between my teeth, and clambered up the ladder like a pirate up the side of a navy galleon. Upon reaching the top
of the ladder, at roughly the height at which the tree began to branch out, I began to cut away some of the lowest branches, so that I could work on
the tree un-molested by errant twigs. Once I had gained access to the trunk (which was of at least ten inches in diameter) I cut through it, leaving
one fifth of its thickness intact.
This was a bloody laborious process, mostly owing to the angle at which I was having to work.
In any case, when this had been done I tied a poly propylene rope above the cut, and demounted the ladder. Once on the ground, I tied the other end
of the rope around my waist, wrapped a foot of rope around my wrist and hand to strengthen my grip, and had my instructor stand in front, and take up
We sidled round by a few degrees, so that we would be out of the fall radius of the section of tree I had cut, and then we counted once, twice, and
upon our third count, we gave a hard tug on the rope. The trunk bowed, but did not break. I suggested that what was needed here was some sort of
standing wave effect, where repeated pulls would cause the top of the tree to wave back and forth, flexing the small remaining connection between the
two sections of the tree beyond its breaking point. The plan, upon its execution, worked perfectly, and five hearty pulls on the line later, and with
an almighty crack, the top half of the tree came down with a THUMP, exactly where we wanted it.
Essentially, the next tree came down precisely the same way as the first, save for some minor differences in terms of accessing it, what with its
being somewhat harder to get a ladder against, due to the proximity of bushes, fencing, and so on. In short, we got these two trees down to half their
size in two and half hours, and my goodness did I feel like I had earned a cup of tea after all that!
Anyway, that little undertaking being out of the way, and having accepted my instructors generous offer of a free lesson next time, we set off back
to my place so that he could drop me off. I was immediately collared so that I could cover more of the day at the shop. I worked through till four
thirty, and then FINALLY, my "Day" off began!
Suffice to say, I am not well rested at this point
I went out yesterday evening after all that, having well and truly earned it. Having missed the
last train home, I also earned the two mile walk to the taxi office, and the ride home at half past midnight as well! I might add that today, I did
less actual physical work today, than I did yesterday. My life is BACKWARDS!
edit on 26-3-2015 by TrueBrit because: Chronological error
edit on 26-3-2015 by TrueBrit because: Inserted missing letter.