I am starting to wonder if one or more of my ancestors were hanged from tree’s as cattle rustlers, as the combination of tree and rope seems to be very dangerous for me.
Last year Martin and I set about chopping down a rotten fruit tree in the garden. All was well till I tied a rope round a branch that needed to fall in a particular direction.
As soon as I turned my back to pull the rope the branch, which was only a third sawn through, fell. The impact on my head was so hard it knocked me to my knees.
The curse is not finished with me yet however.
Yesterday was a good day in the Limousin for cutting wood. Sunshine no wind to speak of and fairly dry under foot. An excellent day to tackle the cutting of dead coppice for the fire. It was just for experimental purposes; to see if the standing dead wood can be burnt on the stove straight away, without storing it for the usual length of time.
The plot is only about a quarter of an acre but it is good coppice and densely planted; producing long straight tree trunks. The dead wood left standing is probably because deer have chewed on the bark of the young shoots and killed the odd trunk here and there.
So there I am in the woods with my chainsaw.
I am already scared because I read a book called The Ax last year and am aware how many things can go wrong when cutting tree’s.
Unfortunately I have to cut the wood to fall into the other tree’s as I have no clearing before my neighbours land. I know this is going to make the fall of the tree slightly unpredictable. When you have cut through the trunk and the tree start’s to fall you put down the chainsaw and walk away; which in itself is tricky; because of the dense growth.
What I saw after my first cut was spectacular. The tree trunk released from its base by my cut started to spin, lifted in the air, and sat back down 6 feet away. It stood perfectly upright, held in place by the slender top branches of the other trees.
Five minutes later I am back from my car with a rope, which I tied on to the base.
I heaved on the rope for a good while, not realising that my rope had a knot in it that suddenly released. This was at the point where my tugging was at its most reckless.
I flew backwards and landed flat on my back with a fallen tree trunk just at the base of my spine.
I am laid up now on the settee and furious; nowhere in that book did it say Warning you may be an unobservant silly old git, or check for family curses.
In these days of rampant Health and Safety warnings, where chainsaw’s come with scary labels such as;
‘ WARNING ACCIDENTS WITH CHAINSAWS ARE RARELY TRIVIAL’
Where was the label on the rope?
I think I shall buy one of those label gun thingy’s and start producing my own warning stickers.