We have a tree in our garden. We have several but this one hangs out over the road. About a year ago now, it was hit by a recycling lorry. You know, one of those ones that appears jacked up with a metal box on top that is so dented it isn’t really a box any more, but looks as if it has been distressed, via the medium of carefully lobbing it off Beachy Head, before fitting. They’re big and tall these lorries which is how it hooked the lowest branch of the tree. There was a lot of creaking the branch bent a bit and then, thank heavens, it pinged back into position and the lorry went on it’s way.
“Phew,” we all thought, watching from the kitchen. But it wasn’t ‘phew’. It had cracked the branch without us realising and it hung lower after that, high enough, for the winter, but when the spring came and it was covered in leaves and seeds we could hear it getting lorry dinked more often.
So McOther and I discussed it on the way to my parents this weekend. We’d get it pollarded, we decided. When we got home, the offending branch had a big crack in it and new wood showing. It was hanging even lower, precariously over a small red citroen.
“It’ll fall and crush that,” I said. “We ought to find out who it belongs to and get them to move it.”
“It’ll be fine, said McOther. That branch isn’t coming down any time soon.”
“Hmm…” I said. McOther is a qualified engineer, which makes him think he can comment with knowledge and certainty about pretty much anything. I’m not an engineer, but I am a bumpkin, so I know what a bit of tree that’s about to fall off looks like.
We found a pair of police bollards we borrowed for moving in in – which I was supposed to have taken back to the police station; 4 years ago – and put them hopefully under the branch, or at least in the bits under the branch which weren’t occupied by red citroen and went back indoors.
This morning as I was leaving with McMini a large lorry went past and with a horrible rending and cracking of wood, it removed the branch.
“Fucking hell! Shit! The red citroen!” I shouted, throwing a stressed, “You didn’t hear any of that!” back at McMini as I bounded over to the fence.
Amazingly, the red citroen was unscathed. The lorry had taken the branch with it a little way and deposited it about an inch in front of the bumper.
“Praise the Lord the citroen is unharmed,” I said.
The lorry driver stopped and got out. There wasn’t much either of us could do, except be very, very glad about the citroen’s narrow escape – he’d clonked the branch on the way up too which would definitely have been automotive curtains. I asked him if he thought he could get the branch to the side of the road. I think he was delivering malt to the micro brewery round the corner because he did, without any trouble, and I had to saw it into four pieces. After that there wasn’t much more we could do, we bade each other a cheery goodbye and on he went.
Cursing my luck at yet another thing thrown in my path to the computer and my writing, I returned from the school run put on my baseball cap and checked shirt got the saw, secateurs, big cutters, huge suede bus-driver’s luggage removing guantlets stolen from National Express (which I still use for gardening after all these years) etc out and removed the branch from the road. It was a big fuck off branch and I was proud to have it sawed, broken and chopped into manageable pieces in two hours. I divvied it up into logs, kindling and brown bin fodder and put it away.
What does this have to do with luck?
Well, sure, it was unlucky that the branch fell down but it was very lucky that it didn’t hurt anyone or break someone’s car. I fear it may well have damaged the lorry. I didn’t look and luckily, neither did the guy driving.
On one level, I was unlucky having to remove it today, when I’d wanted to write. On the other, there are certain, hormonally charged days in each month when writing is impossible. Yes, hormones screw us ladies up THAT badly. And there’s nothing like a bit of exercise to help with stomach cramps. So while it could have been bad news, I ended up feeling better sooner than I normally would and seeing as I’d only have been staring at my screen/book/notes/whatever getting steadily more and more pissed off, it was probably a stroke of good luck that I had to get my inner Lumberjack out, when I had the painters in.
On terminally unproductive days it’s hard to walk away from the er hem, terminal. Even if you know it’s the right thing to do. Today, fate made the decision for me.
As I chopped and sawed and pootled around I found myself whistling merrily. It was only after a while that I realised what the tune I was whistling was. And now I am clearly doomed to have it going through my head all day. But it’s not so bad. After all, it’s a cheery tune.