May 6th 2006Itâ€™s the time of year when you get men in important-looking green overalls knocking on your front door asking you if you want any of your trees topped, lopped, felled or otherwise assaulted. The tree-felling close season is over at last and theyâ€™re raring to go with their screaming chainsaws at the drop of a tenner. â€œThat one needs to come down, tree that size, the roots will be right under your conservatory already, leave it any longer and your floor will be like the deck of the Titanic at iceberg time.â€
These men are only marginally easier to get rid of than Irishmen who have some tarmac left from a job up the road and who for a mere couple of hundred pounds will re-tarmac your drive with it to the depth of the thickness of the walls of a condom.
A few years ago, tired of the annual intrusions of the tree-fellers, I devised a plan to rid myself of them with the minimum of fuss. I would simply tell them that my house was for sale, and therefore I am not a man who is about to spend any money on it, as obviously it would only be to the benefit of the new owner. It has always worked like a charm. Until yesterday.
â€œGood morning. Ace Tree Surgeons. Do you want any of your treeâ€™s branches pruned or trees felling?â€ As he said this he was expertly eyeing our small oak tree and no doubt the probable distance of its roots from our conservatory.
â€œSorry weâ€™re moving house.â€
â€œOh.â€ He almost went, but then turned and stood his ground, clearly not completely happy with my excuse. â€œWhereâ€™s your sign?â€
â€œWhat?â€ My reply was the old standby of the guilty.
He pointed across the road to the â€˜For Saleâ€™ notice planted on the Rigbyâ€™s front lawn.
â€œYour For Sale sign? Where is it?â€
The first thought that entered my head was to tell him that a tree surgeon had cut it down yesterday in mistake for my oak tree whose roots were about to undermine the floor of the conservatory, but he was a big bloke and I wasnâ€™t at all sure heâ€™d appreciate the wit of this riposte.
â€œKids stole it,â€ I said, â€œLittle bastards will pinch anything round here,â€ and closed the door quickly before he offered to massacre them for me with his chainsaw, only a tenner.