I've been worried about the tree in my back garden for a while. It's some sort of willow, which grows like a weed, and above it is an electric (or possibly phone) cable, stretching from a post on Heol y Dwr to the back of one of my neighbours' houses. That's to say, the wire is actually running through the branches now, as the tree has got so tall.
Until today, that is.
I had tried to tackle the problem myself, but I don't have the upper arm strength or the right tools to chop through the branches myself. I did for a while, but a wet summer meant that the tree grew faster and I couldn't get out to deal with it, and it got away from me.
Enter Brian, Jane, her friend who is staying with her, and a selection of loppers and tree pruning equipment.
We've spent the morning chopping through branches, and making a huge twiggy pile on the lawn. We looped rope round some of the branches to pull them to where we wanted them to go - with some success, though we all got hit by falling branches at some point in the proceedings. There was a suggestion we resembled the Three Stooges, but we quickly got better with practice and started working as a team. We were invited into next door's garden to tackle some of the branches from that side, too.
After a morning's vigorous work, the electric wire is safe, and Brian has a few more logs for his wood burner. He's coming back for more tomorrow!
I have some of the best friends ever!
It made me think - the last time I did anything like this was over 15 years ago, when I was helping to convert old farm buildings into a retreat centre in the middle of the Forestry plantations near Abbey Cwm Hir. In the evening, we had a bonfire, which meant moving a lot of green pine branches, after a day of pushing wheelbarrows of soil and hauling rocks around.
I was a lot fitter back then!
I don't even know if the retreat centre is still there.