The Sage was asked for advice and he spoke to someone we know – actually, he’s the chap we employed to do our drive, which is his primary business, but people are always obliging and he agreed that a couple of his men could work for the church. One of them was our good friend (and, for all too brief a time, gardener) Jamie.
There must be a dozen trees and Jamie, Jimmy, the Sage and I worked on the job for several weeks. Jamie was the brave man who climbed the trees and wielded the chainsaw and the rest of us hung on ropes and lowered cut sections into the right place. it was jolly hard work and quite tricky. Experienced and careful as Jamie was, he didn’t have all the equipment a professional tree surgeon would have – this was 25 years ago, you’d not take the risk now. I came to admire him hugely during that time because he kept joking and never gave up. After the job was completed, he admitted that he had been pretty nervous at times and the fear was cumulative. I’d known it, I would have felt the same.
He reminded me recently of one occasion where a large chunk of tree wanted to fall one way and we were all hauling on a rope to pull it the other. I was at the front of the rope and the others (including Jamie, who’d got down the ladder to come and help) were lined up behind me. Suddenly, the chunk of trunk came the way we wanted it and we all fell over, me on top. Jamie said that my presence had been appreciated, if you see what I mean….
Another time, we could hold the tree but not pull it, it was too heavy. Being an 8-stone weakling at the time (I pulled above my weight, I was very strong, but the least useful person there) I was sent out into the road to find someone to help. It just so happened that the coal lorry was going past at the time. A man who can carry hundredweights of coal on his back isn’t daunted by a bit of tree and he came and saved the day.
I love mucking in and getting a tough job done and none of the men I’ve ever worked with has ever been in the least sexist or patronising, even though I’m a girlie, strength-wise. I pull my weight: it’s just that I’m not all that heavy.
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