This was originally posted as an e-mail message to friends in June 2006.
We have this huge pine tree 10 yards from our front door and 80 ft high. I can’t make up my mind if I like it or if it’s good for shade or a pain in the butt. We parked the car underneath it (reason 2) for several weeks until I realised it dripped unmoveable glutinous globules onto the body of the car. Nothing can remove this natural supergunge including diesel fuel. And then a huge branch suddenly started to crack away from the main trunk and was only caught from falling completely by a lesser branch. Even so it was 30′ up and needed removing before collapsing on the car or, worse, one of us or a member of the family or guest or Elisa, our lovely post woman or ….
I had a set of ladders that we’d brought from the UK but they were too short to reach the dislocated arm of the tree; pity – I fancied a bit of lumberjacking. I had no choice but to go and find a tree surgeon in our remote village, with my pidgeon Italian. Like where do you start? I found the answer sorting out another problem.
We inherited some feral cats who were fun to begin with but quickly became a nuisance and bred like … well wild cats. 2 became 5 and 3 of them then became pregnant. We were facing a cat population explosion and I don’t like pets but I couldn’t bring myself to call the pest control guys (as if I could find them in the non-existent yellow pages). So I went out to buy a cat box (is that what it’s called?) to capture the cats and take them far enough down the the road to release them. I wasn’t into the killing business but this was my first big impact statement on our local wildlife culture.
I spent several fruitless days looking for a cat box before coming across one in a local garden centre -where else? Sensing that a garden centre which supplied cat boxes would also be a cert for branch labotomy I checked my little car dictionary and, with typical English chauvinism, assumed a literal translation of tree surgeon might just suffice. So I asked if he knew a local ‘chirugo di albero’. Fact is this could have translated as the consultant who deals with wood issues or worse. But, here’s the thing I love about our local guys, he guessed what I was on about and with some ‘Give Us a Clue’ acting (at which I’m becoming internationally fluent) he gave me directions to a guy, Carlo, who could help (I think). Off I trotted to another garden centre (he recommended a competitor for frigs sake) and explained my dilemma. Of course Carlo spoke not a word of English so over to Italglish/giveusaclueish. Lots of arms being cut off. Strangely, he wasn’t clear about my explanations so off he came with me in the car to our house. Being hijacked by this crazy English guy must have seemed like a distracting thrill. We talked all the way to our place and I swear neither of us understood a word of each other’s language.
Arriving at our house, I showed him the offending branch. We were communicating easily at this point. Encouraged, I talked about this ‘bounteous overhang’ and he nodded enthusiastically with a large smile. He was happy to stay and chat. I felt good about sorting out an appointment for the coming w/e and reluctantly it seemed I got him back in the car. Upon driving back up the drive way I saw that C was in the shower with the windows fully open, oblivious to our conversation. Aah. No wonder Carlo seemed so happy to chat.
Carlo was back within days to remove the broken branches. He brought his power tools, decking ladder device and good-looking son who did all the tough work. C was not in the shower this time. They were great and left me with a driveway full of half-cut tree. And my little saw. Umm… guess my chat hasn’t quite got the appeal of the missus in the shower. Funny that.