Z pulls her weight

There are railings between the churchyard and the road.  Many such wrought iron fences were taken down during the War, to be melted down for munitions (I’ve read that most of them weren’t used for this purpose at all and it was rather a wasted effort) but cattle were regularly driven past the churchyard to graze on the fields beyond and, since there are yew trees in the churchyard, it was felt too unsafe if there was no barrier.  Just inside the railings, there’s a row of lime trees.  Electricity and telephone wires are strung above the pavement too.  And it was felt that the trees should be topped, because there was a danger of one falling onto the road which would have brought down the cables to boot.

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.

By the way, if any of you is having trouble with spam comments, mine have dried up altogether since I turned on Open ID, and I had been receiving several dozen every day.  But if it causes you a problem in leaving a comment, do let me know.  My email is on my profile.

12 comments on “Z pulls her weight

  1. moreidlethoughts

    I’ll try using my wordpress persona (Blogger is not happy about that, but I’ll have a go!)

    This post has reminded me I need to get my tree chaps to deal with a couple that are too awkward for us to do.But not today – it’s blowing a gale!

  2. Z

    Oh Liz and Sav, you are lovely. I just talk to you, that’s all. Mig’s husband did call me ‘talky,’ mind you.

    It seems to have worked, that’s good. No wind here, it’s been foggy all day.

  3. mig bardsley

    You might have noticed he isn’t exactly the strong silent type himself Z.
    I’m very impressed with your tree felling. When we had our oak done, the men had all kinds of safety equipment and it still looked quite scary.

    (I have to use my google account to make comments as Blogger won’t accept my wordpress ID – it just means the link on my comments goes to my old blog)

  4. Z

    Well, I’d still be up for it, and I’ve a bit more gravitas on my side nowadays. I’d climb the tree myself, but I’m wary of chainsaws.

    Strong, yes, Mig. And you hardly got a word in between us!

    Pat, hope you found you were ok with your Blogger ID. Sorry about problems people have with WordPress – but it’s brilliant getting no spam.

  5. janerowena

    I haven’t weighed eight stone for the past eight years – and during that time I was asked to help with erecting a large industrial polytunnel. There were twenty of us and it was a fairly windy day but it couldn’t be put off. We were all given a length of rope that had been knotted through the edging to hang onto. I put mine around my waist while I was waiting so that I had both hands free to blow my nose – and flew up in the air! The two either side of me went up a short way, but I was in the middle and they agreed afterwards that perhaps they should have put a heftier male in that position. The landing was really quite soft, fortunately. It’s not something that I shall ever forget, though, like your tree-felling.


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