Sunday, 12 October 2008

Extreme Logging!

Its amazing how much can be achieved in a weekend by a bunch of nutters with chainsaws if you promise them a nice juicy pork roll as a reward.

The ground at Rock HQ is not the best, the clue in in the title, Rock, much of it is, it was a prehistoric quarry, modern times residents have scratched out a bit of a living on the hillside but for many years the ground has been reclaimed by Mother Nature. Parts of it resembles the jungle from the land that time forgot and should you feel brave enough to venture into the twisted skeletons of bramble clad fallen trees armed with your trusty machete you do expect to find a dinosaur or two browsing amongst the flora.

Tracey and I have persevered and reclaimed much of the grassland back, which is surprisingly steep when you stop and look at it, there were however areas that we could not clear as the job was just too big for two people, one of which has a dicky arm. So time passed, the dinosaurs flourished and we plotted a way to clear the four fallen trees, the numerous broken branches and the unhealthy elder and hawthorn trees that had grown up amongst the fallen timber.

We needed many hands to make light work so contacted a few suckers, I mean real friends who fell for the would you like to come to a party hook line and sinker. A few expressed surprise when they asked if there was anything they could bring being told to bring a chainsaw but seeing as they have been to our themed parties before they took it in their stride.

Fortune smiled on our brave "volunteers" and the rain held off for 48 hours while they toiled away under my careful supervision. Ann and Paul worked their socks off clearing the first fallen tree off Willow Rise, Trevor the Shitland showed no fear of dogs, falling timber, bonfires or maniacs with chainsaws and closely followed the amateur lumberjacks as each branch moved revealed new grass to eat.

A quick lunch and they were ordered back onto the hillside to continue. Pete showed up and his chainsaw was soon put to work alongside Paul's. Pete's was a nice shiny racing red and so went much faster, pretty soon three out of four trees were finished. The bonfires were lit, ostensibly to get rid of all the twigs but also as a defensive barrier should any rogue T Rex suddenly bolt from cover as we tackled the final tree. This enormous Crack Willow must have fallen fifty years ago, from the original trunk each branch grew up from the floor, some having broken and repeating the process and so created an extraordinary labyrinth of decaying boughs and branches covering some hundred feet or so of floor. Chuck into the mix bracken, brambles, hidden drops off rocks and a stream that couldn't make its mind which path to follow so soaked the entire area creating mud pools and slippy bits it was the ideal place for enthusiastic amateurs with chainsaws.

Pretty soon I was in a spot of bother by cutting through a branch that I hadn't noticed was actually over me and if it yielded to the saw and gravity could only go one way. My predicament was spotted by Steve the electrician who had brought his wife Jen and their little boy along. He climbed across and while I pushed the branch away he took over the saw and continued to cut. Problem solved and without injury.

This last tree wasn't going without a fight and as Pete attacked a limb it twisted and held his chainsaw fast. Steve went to get his, a nice well maintained and above all sharper version of the two we already had out and soon with three saws tearing at it the abominable tree was finally vanquished.

As promised all the hard workers were rewarded with as many hot pork rolls with apricot and apple stuffing with a generous helping of apple and ginger sauce as they could eat. Cider, beer and wine flowed and they all tucked in with gusto. Despite their tiredness from their physical labours spirits were raised with each sip and mouthful, all except for Jen.

Steve forgot to mention she was a vegetarian!

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