Monday, March 28, 2011


The man with the chainsaw came the other day and cut down my peach tree. The earthquakes had loosened its toe-hold on the ground and it was leaning towards the house, its higher branches sweeping the gutters. The tree was laden with fruit – its best year – and I was sad to see it fall.

As the chainsaw bit into the branches the tree took its revenge by showering us both with hundreds of fat, ruby-red fruit, ripe enough to splatter us with scarlet slush. It was indeed a massacre (apologies, couldn’t resist that) but we weren’t finished. Seeing that the chainsaw was whining on I suggested that another tree, grown too big at the front of the house, could come down. No sooner said than done – the tall timber fell. There was now a heap of loppings, and the man with the chainsaw said he would be back with the trailer later.

He left me with a brand new saw – a small, sturdy thing to replace the rusty old tenon saw that I used for odd jobs around the place. Yes I know, a tenon saw does a specific task and is not designed for all the jobs that I found for it, but I can’t handle the great big push‘n’pull thing with teeth like Jaws, or the slightly smaller one that wobbles enough to be played with a violin bow (some may be too young to know about those). I hate the spiteful, curved pruning saw which snags and bites, and even I know better than to use a hacksaw on a tree. So, here was a new, sharp, easily handled saw, and several bushes that were getting too big for their boots. Maybe the man with the trailer wouldn’t notice a few more branches on top of the heap.

On the other side of the drive the liquefaction had dealt rather horribly with a couple of small trees. I pulled on gumboots, squelched into the silt and hacked off first one then the other at their bases. The beautiful little saw worked a treat. I eyed the nearby trees which quivered in shock, but perhaps that was a little too ambitious – yet. Back across the drive there were more shrubs restricting the light from the front windows of the house. Could I? Yes I could. Like the Red Queen, I shouted “Off with their heads!” Like Boudicca butchering Romans, I slashed through foliage. Like Excalibur, my new saw was invincible – no tree or shrub was safe.

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