Short Tony is standing in his front garden waving a chainsaw around. I am unenthusiastic about going over to help. There is such a fine line between being ‘a Good Samaritan’ and ‘a statistic’.

“He won’t need my help,” I protest. “Plus if I go and offer, knowing that he won’t need my help, he will just think that I am angling for some free wood.”

“Go on,” she insists, kicking me out of the car with a look.

I amble to Short Tony’s house. He is sizing up a sizeable old apple tree, which has been semi-uprooted and is leaning precariously. Miraculously, it has missed the house and everything else of value. So far.

“Do you need a hand?” I ask.

“I wouldn’t mind, actually,” he replies. “Do you want some free wood?”


I scuttle back to the Cottage to change into some old trousers. I have recently broken the habit of a lifetime, and bought some trendy new jeans in ‘Gap’ and I would not want these to get muddy. (For those who live in the middle of nowhere and not near a ‘Gap’ shop, the ‘Gap’ is basically a store that is frequented by forty-somethings who are seeking to maintain the heady sartorial excitement of their late thirties). I reappear some time later in my old gardening clothes.

Short Tony hands me a rope and gestures towards the tree. He has a small outbuilding in which he has installed a home gymnasium; the direction in which the tree has half-fallen is towards this. Clearly this is the way it will continue to fall should somebody attack it with a chainsaw – hence the rope. It transpires that my job is to take the strain on the rope, pulling with all my might, so that the tree, when felled, will not demolish the outbuilding.

To be, unfortunately, continued.

25 thoughts on ““Go and give him a hand,” orders the LTLP.

  1. zed says:

    Is Short Tony to be trusted with a chainsaw?

  2. nuttycow says:

    You can’t stop there! I’ll be wondering what happened all morning now.


  3. Dickie "Touch" TIngles says:

    If I ever get my hands on a chainsaw, the first accessory I’m going to buy is a scary ice-hockey mask. Like love and marriage, by all accounts, you can’t have one without the other.

    The Gap. Ha! One of my old friends bought all his clothes from the same shop and wore them incessantly on a stag weekend, with the prominent logo very much to the fore on everything. He was mocked mercilessly.

    I helped one of my old friends cut down a tree once and was landed with the same rope pulling duties. As the trunk broke, I heaved on the rope as hard as I could and then watched in mounting horror as the tree fell straight towards me. I tried to shelter behind another tree. All that meant was that I had two trees fall on my head instead of one. I went inside and had a cup of tea and a sit down.

    Pip-pip, old boy!

  4. hfactor says:

    I think it is very telling that in my advancing 30-something years my first thought was “ooh, lovely. Apple burns so nicely”. I mean, for fuck’s sake. I’m off to drink cider with local youths.

  5. Jayne says:

    You, Short Tony and a chainsaw. Oh dear god.

  6. There is such a fine line between being ‘a Good Samaritan’ and ‘a statistic’.

    Quote-worthy. Suitable for framing!

    Hmmm… can’t wait for, The Further Misadventures of Jonny Appletree’d.

  7. An outbuilding with a home gymnasium in it? Oh yes – very authentically rural. Fine to see you country folk maintaining your time-honoured rituals and traditions, such as ye olde elliptical trainer immortalised by Chaucer.

    Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
    The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
    And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
    Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
    Thanne longen fat citie folk to goon on their stayrmastre
    To looken less leik a whale in time for sommer…

    Anyway, if Shorty is the one working out regularly, why isn’t he the one holding the rope? The only reason to give it to you would be if he’d secretly laid a bet on how far the tree would fling your pasty form when it fell over. I’d hate to live in a world where that could be true.

  8. Ziv Catbee says:

    And then the cage comes down!

  9. Miss T says:

    Well I’m assuming your hands and fingers are still attached. Or you have got a typey secretary lady. Or man. Or any gender or type or whatever.

  10. Fanto says:

    This is sounding like an elaborate Wile E Coyote & Roadrunner-esque trap. I wouldn’t go near it Johnny for fear of being thrown across the Broads and landing in a small puff of dust ….

    beep beep!

  11. Megan says:

    Gap – when one opened in Anchorage the entire city turned out in a frenzy of excitement. I saw one woman weeping over a newly purchased pair of socks.

    As for the rest, call me mad but I foresee injury and mayhem. Also possible damage to the outbuilding with the welcome result that no one can expect one to exercise in a newly arboreal home gym. Could Short Tony have a devious plan in mind?

  12. JonnyB says:

    Hullo Ziv Catbee and welcome!!!

    Plaudits to Ivan for his intellectual comment!!!

  13. Thank you, Jonny, but I merely perch upon Chaucer’s giant shoulder. Which makes me some sort of parrot I suppose. And Chaucer a pirate. Wait, that can’t be right…

  14. Mr Angry says:

    How sizeable is sizeable?

  15. Nick C says:

    I can see it all now:

    – first the pink phone
    – now the tree surgery
    – pretty soon we’ll hear a lilting refrain of ‘…I’m a lumberjack…’ and JonnyB will reveal yet another deep dark secret…!

  16. johng says:

    I’m not fond of fallen trees, oh no!

  17. tillylil says:

    “Go on,” she insists, kicking me out of the car with a look.

    What kind of look is that then Jonny?

    The one that says ‘disobey at your peril’

  18. Blossom says:

    I am amazed that you have retained any old trousers for gardening, etc, seeing as how they are discarded all over New Zealand! (that will explain the sudden excess of dodgy men’s legwear in the local opshop perhaps? – I myself am looking out for Argyle jumpers for the teenaged boys with emerging sartorial tastes).
    Also, if the apple tree is indeed sizable, it is just crying out to be constructed into a magic wardrobe for the purposes of hiving off to alternative worlds. Especially if it was grown from a magical apple!

  19. Linda says:

    Nothing like leaving us all hanging-rather like the tree-wondering what happened.

  20. GingerBollox says:

    So LLTP instructs you to go help a neighbour who is in charge of a chainsaw and a falling tree. Two questions:

    1. Do you have life insurance?
    2. Have you ever caught Short Tony and LLTP exchanging furtive glances over your idyllic rural-based paradise abode’s fence?

    I am also deeply impressed that your yokel hospitals have wi-fi therefore allowing you to blog from bed.

  21. beth says:

    It didn’t take you long to get the hang of typing with your toes did it? I’m impressed.

  22. Megan says:

    Ivan – of course Chaucer was a pirate. Didn’t one of the Python boys do a whole thing that proved that? Also that he was murdered by Terry Wogan or something? Besides, proof is in the text:

    Ful many a riche contree hadde he wonne,
    What with his cytlass and his Chivalrie;
    He conquered al the regne of Femenye,
    That whilom was ycleped Scithia,
    And weddede the Pyrat queene Ypolita,
    And broghte hir hoom with hym in his thre maste galyoon,

  23. That’s Theseus you’re thinking of there, Megan, surely? I don’t think Greeks can be pirates, really, on account of the lack of wenching (as opposed to boy-ching, of which there is no lack). After all, Hippolyta was the pirate in this scenario, and if she hadn’t been flat as an ironing board and wearing leather trews he’d not have given her a second look…

  24. Megan says:

    I’ll concede. Although as an amazon surely Hippolyta was surely only half flat as an ironing board? Maybe he was careful to sleep on the left side…

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