Walking in the countryside

It was a beautiful day and Charlie was over to visit so we thought we’d get a little exercise with a walk in the countryside. We came across a tree and the boys got stuck in

Look at me manfully holding up the branch that Charlie is on with just one hand!

After our walk across the fields we had a quick drink in The Plough. The wasps were out in full force and I discovered that Oliver and Charlie are a pair of wasp-wusses. Running around screaming like little girls!

Wine Rack

Asda did a 25% off wine if you buy 6 or more bottles…

We definitely bought more than 6

So we filled the wine rack. I’m writing this several weeks after the purchase and the rack is definitely not quite so full anymore

Dying tree

There’s a tree at the back of my office that is slowly dying. It still has leaves and stuff but there is a massive wound in the bark and it’s rotting from the inside out. Given that it has quite a good chance of falling onto the electricity lines that supply my house I’d rather try and take it down in a controlled fashion than let the wind blow it down.

It’s looking pretty rotten to me

So Oli and I got to work. We rigged up a few bits of climbing rope to hopefully control the tree when it comes to drop.

This was intended to stop it swinging too far away and coming down onto the power lines.
This is a little hard to make out but we have a rolling turn with two half hitches then it goes up around a healthy tree next to it, through the crook of a branch and then down to ground level around another tree with Oli holding onto it. This was designed so that we could slowly lower the tree to the ground in a graceful fashion.
These are the electricity lines that I didn’t want to take down. These lines supply the electricity to the five houses in my little community. I would not be popular if I take them down.

So, with the ropes set up and the chainsaw at the ready we began. It all went pretty well. The chainsaw went through the tree like a hot knife through butter. The final bit of wood was severed and the tree fell in exactly the direction I didn’t want it to.

Yep, that’ll be the tree resting on the power lines then.

Fortunately the rope at the top of the tree took a lot of the weight. I was incredibly lucky. Just a few feet of slack and at least some of those lines would be down and I’d be facing a pretty hefty bill from the electricity people. It was at about this time that Oli remarked “Next time we have to chop a tree down should we get a man in?”. He’s quite wise for his age that one.

You can just make out the climbing rope taking the strain

I kinda ran out of ideas about how to get this tree down without taking out the electricity so I wedged my ladder underneath it to give it some additional support. Turns out to be an utterly genius move and not at all like me!

With the ladder firmly in place I took another chunk out of the bottom of the tree madly hoping that it didn’t then make the bottom half of the tree too light and then pivot the tree over the ladder and into the power lines. Thankfully it didn’t. I then had a tree supported by a climbing rope and pivoting on a ladder. We were able to swing the tree and and have it floating…away from the power lines

Pretty strong for an 11yr old

So between us we swung it around and accidentally destroyed the fence post but managed to get it chopped up into small enough pieces for me to split and burn. It was a pretty intense start to a beautiful Saturday morning.

Willow

Our cat Willow – which we own…

We’ve also “got” a second “cat” Pickle. His real name is Moses but he refuses to live with his owners and just constantly comes to our house and so Amelia named him Pickle. We’ve sent him home in a cat basket seven times now but he just keeps coming back so we’ve stopped sending him away. Persistent little bugger

Check out those crazy polydactyl feet

Caravan in Wales

Surely by now everyone must know my Mum has a caravan in Wales. Well, we used to go quite regularly but hadn’t been in absolutely ages. The kids still go but Emma and I hadn’t been.

That all changed when we decided to go for a mid-week break and take a bike ride along the North Wales coastal path. For some reason I didn’t take any pictures of the actual bike ride but in the evening we wandered down to the beach to watch the sun set.

The kiddywinkles dipping their toes in the water
Emma looking radiant, me looking scruffy

New bike rack

So, as a result of buying the Z4 it meant that I had three cars. Which was a little excessive. So I got rid of the 3 series by giving it to Stuart/Stewart – I can never remember the spelling – who will undoubtedly park it in somebody’s front garden before the year is out.

As a result of getting rid of that car it meant we had no way to transport the bikes around…which is definitely not groovy. So I bought a bike rack for the Porsche.

check out that reg plate!

I didn’t quite think it through though as I forgot to buy the light set and number plate and stuff. We still took it to Wales but I’m pretty sure had a police man pulled in behind us then we’d have been in a spot of trouble. Must buy some stuff to make it all legal.

New Garden Furniture

For a while now we’ve been sitting on the outdoor garden furniture and remarking upon how tatty it was. Even Paddy, of all people, remarked that it had definitely seen better days. So we bought some more. Proper recyclable furniture. Created in conjunction with the Eden Project made from fully renewable stuff. It’s a vision of beauty.

Quite a few snoozes have already been had in the garden

Summer Plaything

Got drunk and agreed to buy a car. I reckon this is at least car #3 that I’ve bought whilst drunk. Excellent fun though. BMW Z4 2.5L Straight 6 with a roof that goes up and down like a god damned Transformer – wackkah acckaaah ack

Plot Lost

Kinda lost the plot for a while. Lockdown and excessive drinking was making me crazy and I came perilously close to quitting my job. Emma persuaded me to take a couple of weeks off work instead and see how things worked out. So I decided to start my two week vay-kay by going on a full day session pub crawling through the Lancashire countryside with 75% of the band, and Nigel.

Did the trick though – I’m now back at work and enjoying myself. Just needed a bit of a break really.

Wasps

If you’ve been paying attention to my blog then you’ll recollect that Oli and I built some beautiful compost bins https://www.junglefreedomfighters.com/?p=1392

Well, it turns out that because my compost bins are built beneath a tree it ends up being a bit dry. It got so dry that a bunch of wasps, and I mean thousands of the little buggers, decided to make a nest there. Usually I’m pretty cool about stuff like but they started freaking me out whenever I went into my shed and they even started flying into my office when I had the windows open. This obviously would not do!

On the day of Oli’s birthday, Dragan, Oli and I went down there to do battle. I’d found a submersible water pump in the garage and bought myself a hose to go with it. Actually I bought two hoses but that’s more down to me hallucinating about receiving packages that hadn’t arrived yet – yeah, things got messy. Anyway – I plugged the hose onto the submersible water pump, dropped the pump into a full water butt, plugged the pump into a wifi enabled smart plug and then tried to fasten the hose to the top of a home made tripod that we built years ago for making tea on a fire https://www.junglefreedomfighters.com/?p=1046

It didn’t really work.

Eventually I just got my rake out and started pulling the compost apart.

Then I laid my blue pipe in there and emptied a water butt full of water over them. They stuck around for a few more days. Stung me twice whilst I was raking them out, but eventually they all wandered off and lived somewhere else.