Thursday, 19 November 2009

Mad axeman in Prettygate

In Hollywood the masculine heroes chop wood as easily as shelling peas. Having gone through the inevitable double-entendres to borrow my next door neighbour's big chopper, I set about the logs that remained from the fir tree that once stood in our garden. After much sweating, flailing and bludgeoning I managed to get some bark off the slices of tree trunk.

A new approach was needed, as the macho techniques learned from tv dramas clearly wasn't working. Rearranging the pile, I decided that the thickest logs were simply too much for Big Swifty. The smaller logs could be split and quartered using the big chopper and my hand axe as wedges, with my club hammer to drive them in.

Conscious that one shouldn't return one's neighbour's tools broken, I applied the hammer more vigorously to my own little axe, and buried it so deep in the log that it couldn't move further in or come out, or split the wood. Yanking the axe-handle, it snapped off, instantly giving at least one piece of wood for the fire.

Eventually a decent pile of logs emerged from the wood butchery session I was leading. And along came Frank, my trusty helper, to use his tractor to transport the wood to the porch, which was filled from floor to ceiling. As they say, you get warm twice from firewood, First, when you chop it up, and secondly, when you burn it.

Meanwhile I noticed that the gate had sustained storm damage from the blasting by wind and hail a couple of days ago. The whole of the gate was pock marked by the mothball sized pieces of ice that were blasted against it, chipping away at the protective surface and making hundreds of small craters. I don't know if we can put this down to climate change, but it was definitely the climate's fault.

In the good old days I used to follow the "reduce, re-use, re-cycle" principles, not because I was green, but because I was mean. Servicing my own car, I saved the black sludge and old sump oil, and used it on the fence posts and panels, and very effective it was too. No doubt it was polluting the groundwater and carcinogenic, but then I wasn't actually drinking the stuff. Modern wood treatments are so kind to the environment they won't hurt any birds or animals, or even the moss, algae and fungus we want to eradicate. Plus they get washed off by a heavy shower or a blasting from hail.

Looking forward to a fire tonight with my family and lodger. And my potential Hollywood axeman career is over.


  1. Hullo Swifty,

    You mean you weren't tempted to take the opportunity to bash through the front door with the axe, leer and shout " Here's Johnny!"

    Good boy!!!!!

    Nice post..........Al.

    p.s. did the old engine oil painting of fences myself too.

  2. I still have to return the big chopper to my neighbour, and could adopt your suggestion. But it could scare him to death, so I'll probably just say "thanks"!



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