I can’t work out if our weather is actually becoming more petulant or does it just seem that way because I’m getting older and less tolerant. And, a little ironically, I think I am slightly ‘age-obsessed’ at the moment because of the winter weather. Whilst we are lucky that we can keep working in most weather – mind willing–it is challenging on the body, and a reminder that these days my joints go out more often than I do.

Oh the weather outside is frightful,

My joint pain is not delightful.

And since it’s got so damn cold,

I feel old, I feel old, I feel old.

Arriving at work ‘up in the mountains’ one day last week, with my brother’s truck reading -6 (yup, minus 6) degrees, my brother cheerfully declared ‘at least it’s dry’. 

We seem to always be having to find the silver linings in our clouds, whatever they hold. I agree that cold and dry is better than cold and wet but how about warm and dry – with no wind. That would be nice – and seems to be more and more elusive.

I don’t like the storms and strong winds. They make me nervous – another sign of getting older, I fear. 

Pigs don’t like the wind either. It is thought that it’s because although they can hear it, because they can’t look up, they can’t see where it’s coming from.

It’s the big gusts of wind, or ‘sting jets’ that do the damage and from a gardener’s point of view, it’s best to do as much as you can to ensure structures like fences, sheds and greenhouses are secure.

Of course, there are always things that you can’t prepare for and last week we had a tree come down in the storm in a client’s garden.

 It got hung up in an adjacent tree and was suspended precariously over a wooden footbridge (and Right of Way), a stream and a stone terrace, planted with some much-loved mature shrubs. My brother decided that tackling it was ‘above his pay grade’ and so we called in the experts.

At the age where I am unimpressed by a lot of stuff, I was refreshingly impressed with the team from Usk Valley Trees.

The skill, patience, expertise and general camaraderie of the team was just an absolute delight to witness. 

After a bit of head scratching and chin stroking – essential in these situations–they used numerous ropes, mightily impressive knots, a telescopic pole hook and a Capstan winch and basically lowered the whole tree more safely and gently than you could rock a baby to sleep. 

The three lads worked well together, with communication, cheerfulness and camaraderie being key – if only everything in the country operated that way.

The youngest lad, who was also the enthusiastic ‘climber’, was just totally enamoured with his work, so much so that when I commented on it – over coffee and biscuits–he cheerfully replied, “It’s the best job in the world. It’s like being a dog. I can eat whenever I want and I get to play with sticks all day.” 

I’m still laughing – and in awe of such a competent crew. Tree-mendous work–thank you Ross, Joe and Sam of www.uskvalleytreeservices.com for ‘lifting’ the tree and my spirits.