Saturday, 6 December 2008

A Winter's Tale...

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At the entrance to The Turrets, we have a holly tree; it’s not a particularly big tree, and was really quite a small guy when we moved here ages ago. But we like it, and over the years, it’s had various indignities imposed on it, like me running into it with various Scrobmobiles, having a misunderstood Agapanthus tied to it to keep the flower heads from attacking Mrs S’s Fiat Pork Cajun when she sallies forth, near total annihilation by a JCB when the drains were reinstalled, and so on.

Hollies are great when they have loads of berries too. Last year we had only three, but this year it’s smothered, such that some of the boughs are drooping and attempting to attack various passers-by by spearing them and generally becoming unruly. One particular branch takes no prisoners over six foot, so Elbey would stand no chance! Hellfire, he’d lose both shoulder blades as well, and that’s even after his reduction of ¼ inch at the hands of his local choppery! Lils would look nice on a swing though, so that makes it even doesn’t it?

So my job this weekend is to make sure that all offending woodwork is cut back, and a few bits are strewn around for the blackbirds. We usually have a resident thrush living there too. ‘Thready’ the thrush can be a violent bird, (whoever heard of a bird called ‘Freddy the frush’...), and has been known to see off several pigeons, an eagle once, and also three feral buzzards which tried to take over the manor and brought in local trug basket for their spoils. That tree has been the scene of more Avian Territorial Pecking since Grace Jones slapped Russell Harty live on TV! Thready has a rumoured stash of AK 47s in his nest, so you can understand that we tend to keep clear at this time of year.

Now, hollies need a lot of work to keep their shape. At the first ‘Turrets’, I cut one back so hard, that it re-grew to look exactly like (the late) Noel Redding in his heyday, but didn’t play bass half as well – in fact it was pretty hopeless on the second riff in 'Hey Joe'! One year, Mrs S pointed out that that our current tree was in danger of entwining the overhead lines, and either plunging the county into darkness, or sabotaging the local vicarage’s telephone wires. (Personally, I’d rather see the vicarage people suffer, as they aren’t anything to do with the church any more as the house was sold off to pay for a new roof or something, but it would be fun to see all those candles in all the houses again, it takes me back to the last depression – or even last week when all the power crashed and stopped us getting anything out of the fridge; but it was OK, as we had some nice Claret instead).

The day after Mrs S pronounced a severe topping of Thready’s haunts, there was a screech of brakes and a whiff of cheap diesel outside, and a rather weasley man poked his head over the wall, and asked if he could take some sprigs to make wreaths for Christmas. It suited me as I wouldn’t have to climb the ladder and get speared, personally connected to broadband or even electrocuted, and told him he could take the top four feet, on condition that he dropped off a wreath for us. Well of course, pikeys just take everything and scamper off, so we made our own wreath, which was much better, and had some smart additions like berries; (it was another bad year for Thready).

Well, I now have a free hour or so this weekend, as someone (probably the same weazle), has conveniently hacked of the offending branch while we weren’t at home – and I’m delighted. The tree looks perfect now!

I don’t know what I’m going to do with the time saved, probably I’ll spend it writing this for several good friends and relations and trying to make them chuckle a bit...

15 comments:

lilith said...

This labour saving tip was brought to you by our very own Scrobbers. Lovely post. The tree looks great :-)

Daisy said...

i was thinking of putting in a holly tree but it really did seem like too much work...the lilac takes no real work and neither do the evergreens or oak and sycamore...why create work...but i thought they always look so nice...will have to think more on it...perhaps i can keep it small and work it that way...i'm not very good on a ladder...

rvi said...

Thkwobs: That wath a thimply thpiffing thtowy. Now pleathe tell uth, doeth your thwuth have thirty thouthand furry thingth on itth thwoat?

Here we have thixty thouthand thpawwowth and thome wrenth in the thycamore treeth. Very noithy little thods they are too.

Scrobs said...

Hi Lils!

The little bastards actually came back and stole some more as well!

What can you expect in this day and age, when feral pikeys are bred and infest the UK 'led' by a feral government...!

On a lighter side, Mrs S has repruned it to look pretty good, and at least I can have my car aerial in a position which lets me listen - it used to get caught up everytime I backed out!

Scrobs said...

Daisers; my old uncle uesd to dislike holly, simply because the fall of leaves is still a prickly menace after quite some time!

We used to have a holly hedge at the back, and it was a nightmare to trim, and also never had any berries either!

The one thing holly really does well, is keep out intruders, as it is a well known fact that thieves still have some sort of fluid in their veins, but not something as healthy as the old transfusion stuff...

Scrobs said...

Reevers, your post took me an hour to understand thankyou!

Thready is still not back yet, and we are wondering if he'll return at all - especially as his kingdom has been reduced a little.

BTW, Mrs S has at last got me reducing the height of the ivy on the walls of 'The Turrets' as well, because it is a severe ladder job, and one year I fell off...

So I'm now inventing a ground to wall Ivy trimmer.

'Thpawwowth' ha ha ha...

idle said...

I would have thought that having a holly tree looking like Noel Redding was reason enough to leave it be.

I had a good look at our holly tree today and I would reckon that it most closely resembles Placido Domingo.

Philipa said...

I was treated to dinner with friends today - a rare treat which was lovely. And spookily enough holly was remarked upon! Apparently if you cut it (hurt it) you make it grow back more prickly. My friend likened that fact to a relationship - shrewd woman, huh?

Trubes said...

I enjoyed reading that Scrobbers,très interesant.
Arn't the Pikeys an ungrateful lot? Mind you, if you refuse them anything they put a curse on you, so, it was just as well that you were kind enough to give him some holly.
Hopefully he stabbed his fingers on the holly, whilst making his wreaths....Ha ha..... A big prick for a little prick...chuckle!

Di.xx

hatfield girl said...

We had weeping hollies in the beautiful Birmingham house garden. (Which was not planted by us but lovingly maintained.) And at the front were alternate red and yellow berried hollies. People came from all over each year to get holly at Christmas, they always asked and often brought gifts and pretty thank you's.

Once the front door bell rang and a deeply sorry man said 'He's killed your fox". His terrier had too - killed a fox under the holly trees, among the rhodies. "He's a fox terrier you see" said the chap. "He couldn't help himself". I've never seen any creature looking so pleased with itself. That dog always knew he had it in him, and now it was out. (It was a pretty scruffy-looking urban fox anyway and the RSPCA said not well either, when they came to take it away).

Scrobs said...

Idle, at least it can sing something, apparently it means bad luck if you chop one down...

How about 'The final cut'?

Scrobs said...

"Apparently if you cut it (hurt it) you make it grow back more prickly."

Absolutely right Pips, hence the hair simile!

Not sure when berries reappear though...

Scrobs said...

Trubes - ha ha ha!

Don't tell Ranter though, 'cos we all have to put up with the same crowd round here...!

Scrobs said...

That sound good Hats! There's a stand of weeping hollies near here, and they look marvellous at this time of year.

I had to clear up a fox right under that tree once. He'd only been dead a few minutes, and although they can be a nuisance, it was a bit galling having to cover up and carry away a rather splendid looking animal.

The Old Tarf said...

It is such a beautiful tree this time of year. Knowing the Thrush he probably flew after the Pikey and shit on his camper although you would never know from looking at it anyways. But any addition might be an improvement.