So, a Sunday set aside for the big job that I’ve been eyeing up for some time. To cut up a fallen tree on our newly acquired plot of land that was blocking the path. This meant I could do especially manly things, like donning kevlar trousers and throwing the chainsaw and helmet in the back of the car and setting off to make manly firewood. I took my mobile, in case I got injured (as my mid-forties-father-of-thee state of mind means that I’ve become a complete wuss and I always anticipate all possible tragic scenarios).
I arrive at the plot and pull my car up at the bottom of the slope, near to where the offending tree is blocking the path. I don my bright orange helmet (with rather snazzy built-in ear defenders and eye protectors) and being to assess the job. The tree is above head level, not good for chainsawing. So I climb onto the old dry-stone wall and begin to chop the tree into fire-sized chunks. The temperature is rising now and I begin to realise that all my protective gear (including heavy jacket) were not conductive to transmission of air and I started to become rather warm. Anyway, 10 minutes later, the path was strewn with small logs and the job was nearly done. I carried and load down the slope to my car and wwwomph, first accident of the day. I nearly broke my wrist as I landed heavily under a pile of fire-sized logs. My immediate reaction is to look around in hope that nobody witnessed Mr. Health and Safety take a tumble, but fortunately we are in a very rural spot and no one saw me as I straightened my orange helmet and brushed off the mud from my wonderful blue kevlar trousers (note to self, wear wrist protectors next time carrying logs)…
I decided to hurl the rest of the logs down the slope towards the car and a further 10 minutes later the logs were neatly arranged in the back of the car. I threw my coat in on top of the logs and closed the boot door. For some reason, the doors locked. And I don’t know how they locked as my keys were safely in my pocket. My coat pocket. Aargh. My chance for revelling in manly glory was gone as I would have to call Jeany and ask her to dig out the spare car key and bring it over to me. . I knew she wouldn’t be happy but I was grateful that I had sensibly put my mobile in my kevlar trouser pocket. She was not happy. And she listed everything she would have to do (turn off the lunch, put the children in the car, lock up the house etc etc) before saying that she guessed there was no other option but to come over with the spare car key. “Where’s the spare key” she asked in her familar accusatory manner to which I am so well accustomed, “you were the one responsible for keys when we moved house”. I gave my best guess and fortunately it proved to be right. I hung up, grateful for mobile phones (our house is about 3 miles from our land) and started to walk in the direction I knew my family were now heading to rescue me. After 15 minutes of walking, I’m rather surprised that I can’t see the rescue car yet and suddenly my phone rings. A very harassed and angry wife is shouting at me. Some really bad words. I deduce something has happened and before long I manage to put the swearing into context as I realise that she has (for the third time in a year) driven into a roadside rock and burst a tyre. I decide it is not a good time to ask her how fast she was driving or whether she yet recognised she has certain issues with her spacial awareness. Instead I told her that I would probably be at the scene of the puncture in 10 minutes. 10 minutes of swift walking towards a hostile wife who had had to make the journey to rescue her rather inept not-so-manly husband who had managed to lock his keys in the car. Kevlar really doesn’t breath well.
I arrive to find that she has moved the car into the driveway of I don’t know who and has started to unload the boot so we can get to the spare tyre (she knows the routine quite well by now). After a couple of attempts to jack the car up, I realise that the drive surface is just too uneven and sandy, so we have to go and hunt around for a paving stone to place under the jack. But the friendly man who lives in the house came out with an industrial sized car jack. I mean, I don’t know anyone who has one of those and can’t believe our luck as he quickly pumps the car up into the air and I change over the tyre.
So, I walk back to my car as my wife and children head home, the childrend minds chirping with all the wonderfully expressive new words they have leant from mummy today. And Kevlar trousers chaff.
(Note – the Kevlar “pants” belong to my Canadian landlord and I just loved the way he said to me “don’t forget to wear the Kevlar pants!”)