Well, the postman did bring the aged FIL’s prescription today, so he was happy (the aged FIL, not the postman, who had to drive his post-van over the potholed road to deliver the 24 bottles of booster food supplements. I’m just glad that for once it was not me that had to carry the stuff).

Today’s work schedule was completely avoided. Instead of doing what was on the list of jobs, I borrowed the aged FIL’s tractor. I first had to fill it up though – not with diesel, but with transmission oil – it has a bad oil leak and goes through 2 litres of 80W90 every time you use it. (The following unfortunately can’t count for the wildlife diary; I discovered a dormouse which had fallen into an open tub of old engine oil, poor thing). I also borrowed some heavy chains, the reason for which will become apparent shortly.

At the end of the property, a tree had blown down in yesterday’s high winds, blocking the road. It’s not a very heavily used road, but I didn’t pass up the chance of some free wood, so poodled down the lane with the tractor and chainsaw. I cut up the main trunk first (it was a 15-metre tall aspen) and put the logs into the bucket on the back of the tractor. However, the crown of the tree had hung up in the branches of other trees on the opposite side of the road. This is where the heavy chains came in. I tied the chain around the trunk, and hooked the other end over the front towbar of the tractor. Selecting reverse 2nd gear, I backed off slowly, and much to my surprise the entire upper part of the tree was pulled free. It must have weighed well over a ton, but I was seriously impressed with the pulling power of the tractor.

I also cut up two smaller wild cherry trees which had fallen over, and spent the afternoon splitting the logs with a splitting maul. LSS had gone to the aged FIL after lunch in order to do some washing, and I took the tractor back, parking it in its customary place in the barn. The chains needed to be returned to the workshop building, and the only way to carry all of them was to drape some over each arm, and over each shoulder. This resulted in the most amazing clanking noise as I walked, so I took a detour past the kitchen, rattling the chains and calling out “Oooooo, Ebeneeeeezer Scroooooooge. This is the ghooooost of Jaaaaacob Maaaaaarley.” Unfortunately my acting skills were completely wasted, as nobody was there.

Completely tired out from the day’s labours, we decided to go to a restaurant for dinner. We went to a Chinese place in Salbris where they served an all-you-can-eat buffet for €15 per head. Very nice it was too.

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