Thursday, March 23, 2006

Tree/Not Tree

What with yesterday being shit and everything, it was with a glad heart and a general sense of 'Rah!' that I took up my mum's invitation to cut down her old apple tree that was getting a bit rotten. Being quite outdoorsy by nature, my parents' garage is stuffed to bursting with all sorts of full-on gardening death implements, and though the tree isn't that big, I like to do these things properly. If you think of those scenes in post-apocalypse movies where the hero breaks into a hardware store and tools up, it was a bit like that.

I will admit to taking out a certain amount of personal vengeance on the tree. But soon it was gone, and I stood proudly atop a pile of ruined branches and sections of trunk, eyes afire with the light of victory.

Then my mum got back from walking the dogs. "How are you-' she called, then stopped, staring at me, her mouth a perfect 'O' of horror.

Because with the TEDIOUS FUCKING INEVITABILITY that has made this blog famous world-wide, I had of course cut down the wrong tree.

The dog slipped his leash from my mother's slack hand, climbed the steps to the top of the garden, picked his way carefully through the scene of devastation, sniffed in puzzled sort of way at the hole in the ground where the tree used to be, licked my hand gently, then lay down and fell asleep.

The apple tree I was supposed to cut down was in fact a small trunk just to the left, and only about two feet high. When, a few moments later, I finally turned my attention to the correct tree, it came out of the ground with just one hand. Of course it would. Ha ha! Why wouldn't it?

If you're wondering why the chair has changed position in the photos, it wasn't thrown at me or anything. I had to shift it when I took all the logs up to the woodshed. I thought of saying something along the lines of 'still, apple wood smells lovely when it burns, doesn't it?', but decided against it.

Anyway, it's all fine now, although I will be buying my mother a new apple tree sapling for Mother's Day, which I think is fair enough really.

It does remind me of something a friend of mine* said once. She gets into a number of hapless scrapes, even by my high standards, although she tends to be assisted by more Class A drugs than me. Still, she was telling a number of us this one particular story, which involved a party out in the nowhere**, and her ending up through a convoluted series of events, with no trousers, and not no undercrackers neither. And it was funny, and we laughed, and she looked at us with real anguish in her little cornish face and said 'No no, you don't understand. This is just a story for you. I have to wake up and be this person every single day'. And writing this post now, I sort of know how she feels.

* Not B.M.

** Supposed to be 'out in the middle of nowhere', although 'the nowhere' has an interesting pseudo-mythic ring to it. It's probably just behind Penryn Asda.


patroclus said...

On the bright side, I think this may well be your Best Post Ever.

And I think the garden looks better without it. Is that a giant camellia? Cello will know.

James Henry said...

Post-match analysis had it that the tree was a bit old, and it has opened up a nice space. Mum phoned my dad, told him what had happened and said that the hole where the tree was has now been filled in.

'With James?' said my dad. Ten points, my dad.

That is a big Camelia. 'That needs cutting back sometime,' said mum. Then there was a long pause. 'But not today,' she said finally.

The tree had all sorts of emotional connections for my mum, to do with my grandad, which makes it an even sadder story than it first appears, but I couldn't bring to write about that. But even through the blank haze of horror, I had to admit thinking, 'still, something to write about'.

surly girl said...


i think that just about covers it.

Anonymous said...

This sounds suspiciously like the episode of "Only Fools and Horses" with the chandelier, or the vet in "The League of Gentlemen" putting the wrong dog to sleep.

James Henry said...

That would be because my life has apparently turned into a sitcom. Only quite a shit one.

Anonymous said...

Still: possibly the best post ever. Isn't irony wonderful? And, ah, angst. At least you can make it into funny.

Mine just stays angst.

Will said...

If it makes you feel better I could tell you the story of how I once dropped a pile of my students' essays into a flushing toilet. Still, at least I didn't cut my mum's tree down.

cello said...

Oh treasure. We're feeling your pain, we really are. But apples trees in truth don't have a long life. Well, not if you want apples. And you needed to have a victim for your bile and frustration yesterday. And your mum and dad love you to bits, and would even if you were a burglar or something nasty. So that's all right then.

Splendid camellia, but I'm with Monty Don on this one, and wouldn't have one in the garden. they look magnificent when in flower but the dead flowers just stay on the bush making it look horrid.

Am very envious of your mild Cornish weather though. It's still arctic here in the Chilterns. In fact they have just moved the Spring Show back 3 weeks to try and wait for the daffs to open. First time in living memory.

felinity said...

Oh dear god James you are astonishing. I am torn between wanting to laugh at you (sorry) and wanting to tentatively pat you on the back.

Thanks for the photos, anyway. My parents garden used to be an orchard and various apple trees have gone the way of your mother's over the past thirty years. It's an odd thing when something that is so part of the landscape is, suddenly, not there.

felinity said...

Parents'. Bah.

Anonymous said...

My mum says very much the same things as Cello re apple tress and their longevity (lack thereof). Which may not be much of a consolation right now, admittedly. And this way, your mum will always think of the new tree as the one that you gave her.

And you really have made a lot of people laugh today.

Speaking of things that have made me laugh recently, is the Adamantium scene in GW1 one of yours?

James Henry said...

Very much me. The repetition at the end was an improv though - Karl's sneakily very good at those 'Martin not quite giving in' moments.

I do worry it sounds too much like a Spaced riff though - I did quite a lot of superhero stuff but that was the only one that got in. Perhaps unsurprisingly.

patroclus said...

>>I do worry it sounds too much like a Spaced riff though<<

Why would that be a cause for worry?

Dave said...

I blogged a few months ago about the large eucalyptus tree growing inches from my front door; I've cut off most of the branches, bar the main one (it's a bit thick).

So, if you can find a suitable weapon of mass destruction in your parent's garage, you're most welcome to pop over here and cut it down.

I seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time after each episode of GW wondering which bits are yours. Glad the Adamantium bit was.

woot said...

Oooooh I remember that Adamantium bit! T'was indeed very funny and made me quite happy that I actually knew what Adamantium is because I do usually have no idea about stuff like that...

Awwwww James. Your daily trauma's do cause me to giggle. I do apologise profusely. The comments relating it to Only fools and Horses caused the giggles too.

Thank you all for your giggles on what has been a cold and dismal 22 degree day here...

Anonymous said...

Some things you might want to avoid for the next few days:

Carrying planks through narrow doors

Crossing the street when someone is carrying a large pane of glass

Suavely addressing long haired blondes who will turn around and turn out to be a man.

Anything slapstick, in fact.

Really, I think it's for the best...

Anonymous said...

Your dad's comment about the filling in of the hole with you made me laugh out loud - ten points indeed and an honourable mention in dispatches. As a mother myself, I would wholeheartedly agree with what cello and Pashmina said above. Oh, and with everybody who loved the Adamantium scene - one of my favourite bits.

Taiga the Fox said...

I suggest you go and buy the Wood Turning Into Art - guide
and make a nice bowl of the logs.

Was the remote control car scene yours as well?

James Henry said...

Yup. Although possibly the fine acting by Thingy and You Know helped the scene along, as t'were.

Dave said...

Can we get a gang together and go and beat up the TV reviewers in today's Times please.

James Henry said...

Ha! I saw that. Yes, she really loved the first series too, so that's a shame. She does give good review though, Miss Moran, so if she gets back into it later in the series, I'm sure she'll say.*

GW2 reviews however taking second place in my worries to the fact that I'm goling over to my parents' tomorrow (with a huge bunch of flowers, obviously) and my dad has apparently prepared a number of witticisms about George Washington.

It's going to be a long weekend.

*leaving self open for massive kicking there.

irony in motion said...

David Chater seemed more optimistic. Maybe they will have a fight about it.