03 May 2009

My Greatest Adventure

I've climbed The Old Man of Coniston, trekked through the Jungles of Borneo and Brazil, and even slept rough in a bivouac in West Runton, but today I reached a pinnacle in the realms of human achievement and exploration.

Armed only with the cheapest strimmer Argos sell, and a crappy old pair of sunnies, I set out after lunch with the express intention of reaching the back end of the garden by sundown.

With Mrsslippy offering able assistance, we worked in shifts, cutting swathes through the dense foliage.

By three o'clock we had reached Camp Bird Feeder 1. This was reachable on foot previously, but only by experienced guides who knew the terrain, and were properly dressed, It was once possible to reach Camp Bird Feeder 1 wearing slippers and shorts if you happened to look out the bedroom window before work and notice that the pigeons had stripped it bare again, but in recent times it had become so treacherous that it could really only be safely done in proper shoes and long trousers.

Now Camp Bird Feeder 1 could be reached not only from the east, but also from it's notorious north face. Visitors to Camp Bird Feeder 2 ( a slightly safer climb) could see the north approach from there, but to try the crossing would be sheer lunacy, and even the most resolute of travellers would find themselves trudging the path back to Base Camp Garden Bench to collect more peanuts before doubling back again to take the fork for the eastern ascent.

From there, it was a short, but very arduous strim, to connect up Camp Bird Feeder 1 to Camp Bird Feeder 3, thus removing the need for the direct path to it, that was less treacherous underfoot, but remained hazardous to to encroaching conifers that could be full of dew and cobwebs on a damp spring morning.

Base Camp Garden Bench, and the 3 Camp Birdfeeders all clear, left only the big push to the back fence.

Wielding the strimmer like Leatherface at the end of Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original - it's not as bad as the video nasty brigade claimed, and far superior to the shitty, and completely unnecessary remake), I sliced and diced, and pushed on.

This was dangerous stuff. The brambles under the 4 feet of grass were so long and wiry, that even as you hacked at stuff a couple of feet in front, you could feel it tugging at the ground underneath you, and the whole garden seemed to move.

Having shards of bramble flung around at high speed is always great fun, but unperturbed, I battled on, and after years of neglect and inaccessibility, man can once again touch our fence.

Although I don't know why he would want to.

My arms are now shot to peices. Shredded and bloody, and thanks to the constant vibration of the strimmer, I've developed an awful tremor that made cleaning up the meat for dinner a slightly dangerous task (Pork tenderloin thank's for asking. Some Gloucester Old Spot from the local Farm shop that I'm going to do in the tagine with apricots, honey, wholegrain mustard and a couple of glasses of Chardonnay. Served with a couple of slow roasted romano peppers, stuffed with wild rice).

We may even go to the pub tonight to celebrate our endeavours (planted more veg too - peas, red cabbage, carrots, and spring onions), but drinking might prove difficult if I can't stop my hands from shaking.

And I'd better be careful if I end up stood next to anyone else at the urinals at the pub. They might think I'm doing a George Michael .

Either that or Michael J Fox has grown......

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