Well I suppose it all started when I noticed the snow had melted off the sign, and some green stuff, algae I presume, had started growing on it. I put up a couple to encourage the local dog walkers to carry plastic bags for their dogs, and most do, though there are always a few who make the path a hazard for the remainder.
The green was developing because it was in the shade of a tree which was leaning further and further out over the path. The soil isn't very deep and rather boggy, and this one had been leaning somewhat when we moved in some time around 1995. I'll have to check that date.
Anyway, since the lean had increased and there was a slight danger of it falling on a dog-walker, I thought a little pruning might be in order. It had been taking the orange lights off the top of incautious van drivers for a while, especially since Google sent a photographing car up and renamed my back road as 'Tarbrax Road, thereby confusing quite a few SatNavs. The picture, in 2011, shows how I nearly collected a camera system from their car roof.
By this year it was time for a trim, so I took the first branch off and the rest of the tree straightened up a bit. I may take the other branch off next year, if I can make some room in my wood-stores.
Having sharpened up the chainsaw and moved the nearest wood store four feet north, I thought I might clear the area a bit and took out a Norwegian spruce and a larch. The Larch was threatening the afore mentioned (blue) wood store, and the spruce was getting too big at 45 feet to be safe in high winds. It was getting to the point where I couldn't drop it without collateral damage, so I actually paid to have it dropped professionally. It required a degree of skill to get through the base which was about a yard thick and my chainsaw is only 16".
Once down, I was surprised how big it was, and glad that I'd not tried it myself. Michael, the executioner, put it in exactly the right place, and I started chopping it up. I rarely remember to take photos before and after, so here is one during. The larch is logged and half removed and the rest is in the foreground, the spruce has the top 20 feet logged and the rest awaits. It should keep the log burning stove running for a couple of winters.
With both types of tree the sooner they are split the easier, so I tend to halve each log as I go along, and finish them off later before stacking. Even cutting them in Winter, especially with it being so mild, they are still mostly water, so they'll need a couple of years seasoning. You can always tell unseasoned wood smoke, it is largely steam, and the chimney needs sweeping more often.
Diverting your thought train to a point fifty (ish) years ago, and 400 miles south, 'Woman's Own' magazine once published an article on the Laterality Clinic that Mum ran at the farm back in the '60s and '70s, that was before the term 'Dyslexia' became popular. They had included a photo of the family and Mum recently asked me if I still had a copy of it.
The photo, produced in black and white, although, yes, they had colour by then, had shown us all leaning on a farm gate, as the readership would expect all farming families to do when not actually tilling, toiling or whatever.
Sorry about the quality, it had a centre-fold through Bill's knee and a text-box sticking into his shoulder. I still haven't quite forgiven him for looking cooler than me, and getting in the middle when it was supposed to be all about me. But I don't really mind....much.... If I had the skills I'd make myself look less anorexic, yes, that's me looking badly assembled on the left of the picture, but in those days the camera didn't lie...much...even if the camera-man let the viewer think the good-looking one was the subject.
The article managed to confuse or ignore most of the facts, but it did get the idea into the public domain. There were two television pieces as well, though I doubt they kept the tapes. They very nearly burned the house down, as we had polystyrene ceiling tiles, and when the lighting was turned off we found they had been on the verge of igniting. Still I suppose we would have had the camera team on hand to do an article on the resulting house-fire.
Incidentally, in spite of his being 18 months younger than me, Bill seems to have made quite a name for himself in the family relationships field. Just google 'Bill Hewlett and 'relationships' or 'mediator' and he's all over the place. Curiously the media seem to have removed any references to his older and wiser brother, I suppose they didn't want to confuse matters. His work saves quite a few people a great deal of trouble by steering them away from the courts. In the you-tube article here, he explains it better than I can.
He has certainly found a useful niche in the 'caring' professions, which seems to be where most of the family settle.
Shortly, I shall replace the word [email protected] with radio4 for reasons that will become clear.
I'm not sure that making people radio4 and feeding them into large frightening machines gave the impression that I was in a caring profession, but I meant well, as they say, (usually while being carted off to some court or other). There is a story put about, usually by the Nuclear industry, that a little radio4 is good for you, I shall comfort myself with that.
Fortunately the press doesn't have much of a clue about 'radio4' or radio 4 ity, and thinks it is a bit like a slow acting communicable condition that might make you invisible, a super-hero or unclean. We used to have quite a bit of paper-work type trouble from SEPA, The Scottish Environment Protection Agency, who are generally quite sensible, if rather picky, when they found something with the word radio4 written on it. If it was typed, or worse, printed they would start hyper-ventilating. If it had a trefoil it was automatically radio4 waste, so when they noticed a small sticker on a wall, placed quite correctly to indicate that the toilet behind it might be a bit 'hot' there was a bit of a panic until it was scraped off. The scrapings being safely disposed of of course. The chap completely ignored the fact that occasionally the toilet floor would make the 'Geiger counter' go off the scale.
Before anybody panics I should point out that these devices are made to detect very, very small amounts of radio4, and it would have bent its needle around the post if a legally and reasonably safely injected patient, had pee'd on it.
Which as far as I know, never happened.
Of course all this was a long long time ago, and by now, if the safety measures have continued to extend as they were doing then, the rooms will have to be considerably bigger on account of the number and thickness of safety notices, warning signs and cleaning rotas on the walls.
The odd thing is that it is perfectly legal, decent and safe to drive nuclear (or noocueler, as the trans-atlantic media would have it,) weapons through Glasgow, and deploy fully armed devices capable of sterilising the continent of your choice in a pond a few miles up the road.
Why the government hasn't taken the opportunity to at least give the impression of local control by parking the devices in the Thames I don't know.
The good news is that a sheet of paper will stop some forms of radio4 whether or not it has official warnings, trefoils or even pictures of Donald Trump on it.
There's a thought, the Americans, and potentially Mr Trump, have the real 'red button.'
If it is of any comfort, and the rainbow didn't work, I don't think the Chinese would actually let him near it. Mind you, our lot have decided to let the Chinese build a power station which will no doubt have triangular stickers all over it..... in the UK! Hopefully they will make a better job of it than Sellafield,....Where they are trying to develop waterproof yellow triangles that will float on the Irish sea for a few thousand years....rather quaint that the Isle of Man symbol is also a trefoil, and has grown an extra leg, although that might refer to the off-shore banking thing and 'legging it' with the hot money.