The Oak Trees: The Saga Continues

Many weeks ago, myself and my neighbour arranged for the trimming of the Oak trees on both properties. He has one at the front next to our one, and the large one in our garden at the back overlooks his house and garden. He is a very fair man, and always happy to evenly split the substantial cost of the work every five years. Not only that, he gets estimates, contacts the Tree Officer at the Council, and agrees on a contractor.

So the work started in March as arranged, on the two trees at the front. We moved all our cars off of the driveways, and over three days, the trees were trimmed back heavliy. A job well-done. However, he was unable to start work on the largest tree at the back, as his rope-climber was going to another job. He said he would come back the following week, using a different climber.

He did that, but after twenty minutes at work he told myself and my neighbour that it was too windy, so dangerous to continue. Then he added that he would be unable to complete the job, as he would not be able to get a climber to work for him for some time, and then he had other committments. During a heated debate with myself, Julie, and our next-door neighbour, the contractor was told that if he walked off the job, he would get no pay for the work already done, and would likely be sued for breach of contract. Additionally, his reputation would be ruined on the Facebook forums where he gets most of his recommendations.

Following that acrimonious exchange, he eventually agreed to employ a different climber, and return at the end of April. They are here today and tomorrow, but so far have cut very little off the large Oak at the back. I am left hoping they will just get the job done and we will not have to suffer another stress-inducing argument later today.

My Last Year Of Hedge Clipping

Front of bungalow from across the road

In the photo above, (click to see full size) you can clearly see the larger and smaller beech hedges that are in front of our house. They are taller than they look in this photo, which was taken after they had just been trimmed, in late 2013. From street level, they reach to about eight feet in height, and are considerably higher than that when fully grown before they need cutting. On the plus, side, this height is reduced when cutting the back, as the ground level in the front garden is some twelve inches higher.

I bought some very good clippers when I moved here, as I also had to tackle the huge rows of leylandii hedges at the back. Compared to those, the beech hedges at the front were a breeze, easily finished off in a morning or afternoon. But then I got vertigo a couple of years back. And then I got older of course. I could no longer cope with the ten-feet high leylandii, and had to pay someone to cut them earlier this year. But I was sure I could still deal with the beech hedges.

After deciding that they were unacceptably shabby, I made up my mnd to cut them this morning. It is a hot day, 27 C, so I took Ollie out early, just after nine. On our return, I got straight on with the beech hedges, sweeping up the mess as I went. After managing just one quarter, the first battery gave up. I put it on charge, and went on with the second battery. I was very hot, and finding it difficult to stay steady on top of the step ladder as I tried to get the straggly stems in the middle. After two hours, I swept up, and had a lunch break.

When I went back out, I decided to use a proper ladder to reach the top, and jammed it as hard as I could against the hedge. But is was very wobbly once I got up there, and I was having real difficulty keeping my balance and cutting at the same time. When the second battery went flat, I had at least finished the biggest hedge, and can do the small one easily tomorrow. Sweeping up and tidying the things away, it dawned on me that will be the last time I can safely cut these hedges.

As of next year, I am going to have to pay someone to do it.