The Old Man is on holiday at the moment and it is no coincidence that the Cotoneaster at the front of the house got its annual prune this week. Hacking the shoots off a shrub that is more of a tree has been an annual task for me for years. But it has always been carried out under the watchful eye of the landlord, who insists that I leave the red berries which are – apparently – considered a delicacy by migratory Redwing and Fieldfares
This goodwill to all birds might keep their numbers up, but it has gradually diminished the amount of light getting into our living room window, as the Cotoneaster swells in size each year. So this year, with TOM away, I decided to get the big saw out and take it down a peg or two.
I can only imagine the news spreading to the Urals as word gets around the Fieldfare community that the greatest
winter food source in Western Europe would not be available this year due to the brutality of the midlife gardener who simply wanted to see out of his window. Somerset will be without the flocks of migratory birds as they forage elsewhere across Southern England for food, or maybe do not even bother making the journey to the relative warmth of England when their main food source had been reduced to a pile of twigs.
But I callously carried on with my arboreal butchery, going from using the secateurs to the “big loppers” to finally resorting to the bush saw. The tree did put up a fair amount of resistance and I did not get away unscathed. The scratches on my arms, not to mention the stiffness in my lower back, were testament to the awkwardness of reducing the monster shrub to a stubbly bunch of branches. The stepladder was quickly dispensed with as it became clear I would
have to resort to climbing up it to cut it. Thankfully I managed to avoid the comedy “sawing the branch on which I’m sitting” moment, and the end result has made all the difference to the light pouring into the living room.
Further reduction of the tree line was meted out by Jim who took the fig tree back to its lowest common denominator – leaving just a trunk this time. That will give more light to TOM’s back room, though it all looks a bit severe Perhaps by the time TOM returns from holiday, a leaf or two might have grown back on some of his shrubs…