We have done some more work in the wood.
Managing the woodland allows in light to benefit the trees which remain. And opens up the view. It was before I sprained my ankle, thankfully, for sprained it most certainly is: reducing now from twice the size of the other one but still sporting every colour of the rainbow from mid-calf down. Our early experience of tree felling (here) has led to a honing of technique. Mike ties a winch cable to the tree to help control, theoretically, the direction of fall. Yours truly has been appointed ‘winch person in chief’.
If you live in the UK you may have heard of Fred Dibnah. He was a steeplejack whose particular claim to fame lay in his approach to demolishing the towering but long since redundant factory chimneys in and around his home town of Bolton, in the North West of England. Fred would knock out the brickwork on the bottom of one side of the chimney and replace it with wooden props. And then set a huge fire underneath. As the wood succumbed to the fire the chimney would topple, falling to the same side as the hole in the brickwork beneath. Something of a showman, Fred would watch the fire closely until seconds before the collapse and then leg it at speed with huge sections of chimney crashing to the ground in his wake.
And the reason for this digression? The role of the winch person in tree felling can feel much like Fred Dibnah.
Mike climbs the tree to the highest point he can reach and attaches the winch.
My job is to tighten on the cable as he starts to cut. Apart from the fact that working the lever is pretty hard graft, you’ll have already spotted the situation I now find myself in. The winch, and its operator, stand in direct line of fall. It’s a case of pumping like mad, until the very last second, and then running like a woman possessed.
It was a good day’s work.
It’s a shame about the wooden arch at the bottom of the 84 steps. But I suppose the path does look better without it..