I mailed my back-tack parcel today. I am very happy with it, and hope my person will be too. I'll post more about it and it's making after it's arrived, but I won't be giving anything away to tell you that it took me quite a bit longer than I'd originally anticipated. For the past couple of weeks, I've had to answer friends' queries about my weekend plans with a terse "I'll Be Working On My Bag." On Tuesday afternoon, I called Nicole to see if she'd like to come over to help me chop down a tree, and, oh, would she like to see my finished bag? Yes, she did, and on the way over she called our friend Anne to tell her to come see the bag too. (I have wonderful friends.)
First, I'll tell you about the tree. Rather, the three trees. Ever since we moved into our house, we've discussed getting rid of three cypress trees growing under a beautiful silver birch. You might think, reading this, that we have a garden, and if so, you’d be wrong. All four of these trees were growing in a strip of dirt approx. 2m x 0.5m (6ft x 1ft) along the back fence of our courtyard. For a long time, I believed that the silver birch would slowly kill the cypresses once they touched the birch branches. Unfortunately, it appeared to be happening the other way round. I'm not a gardener, and, to be honest, felt queasy about destroying perfectly healthy plants, even ones intent on murdering our only source of shade. But today was our once-yearly hard rubbish collection, and if we wanted to get rid of the trees, they had to come down now.
Nicole and Jamie have a gorgeous garden, and think nothing of undertaking hardcore landscaping projects with their own two (four) hands. Just last weekend, they constructed a brick pillar (Nicole), laid a driveway (both) and installed an automatic watering system (Jamie). In general conversation, I’ve brought up the cypresses and my misgivings, and have come away reassured at the ready availability of an axe, and something else I’ve forgotten the name of. Under Nicole’s supervision and the hard rubbish collection deadline, I was ready to tackle the cypresses. I even bought fancy slip-proof gardening gloves at Bunning’s [US readers: think Home Depot.]
Nicole arrived on her bike in a lovely dress she bought in Paris. As I discussed the two saws I’d borrowed for the exercise, she assessed the littlest tree, and proceeded to pull it out of the ground WITH HER BARE HANDS. She pulled the next one over 90 degrees to the ground, and Isaac sawed it off. The last, biggest one, involved a little more effort (maybe two attempts with the dull saw.) All in all, the three trees were down in no more than three minutes, and we retired to cheese, a bottle of wine and many kind words about my bag, and how at least I’m pretty good at something.