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A burning issue!
I’m not a great lover of Leylandii. However we have one. I’ll rephrase that. We HAD one. We inherited it with the property three or so years back. It had got out of control but over successive Autumns I persevered with cutting it back and getting it into reasonable order. A lot of hard work and not a little sweat.
Then, the other evening I was rummaging through the Aladdin’s cave I affectionately call ‘my garage’. After a bit of consolidation of some rusty shelf brackets and wood screws I’d been hoarding for the past forty five years (they’ll come in useful one day) I ended up with a couple of surplus and decrepit cardboard boxes. They were in pretty poor shape so I decided to burn them outside at the back of the garage. You’re ahead of me here aren’t you?
The boxes went up a treat. They did seem to produce an awful lot of smoke though and as it’s actually illegal in our neck of the woods to start a bonfire between the months of April and November I was concerned someone might spot my felony. After a couple of minutes I noticed the smoke wasn’t actually emanating from the cardboard boxes. They had anyway long since been consumed by my little bonfire and had all but disappeared. Oh no, the smoke was coming from elsewhere.
Closer examination of the Leylandii hedge quickly established that the far side of it was well and truly alight. From one end to the other. All one hundred foot run of it.
I decided that it might be prudent to inform the Memsahib at this stage and who at the time was busily preparing dinner. A wall of fire a hundred foot long with flames now reaching fifteen feet into the sky might be a difficult thing to conceal I thought. Even if it burned itself out without actually destroying the rest of our property - our house, garage, outbuildings, vehicles, garden etc. I surmised she might notice its absence from the landscape if she happened to wander into our garden in the morning. So best tell her.
She wasn’t amused. In fact she went what one might best describe as ballistic. I tried calming her down by confirming that I was actually still uninjured myself but she seemed none too interested. I retrieved our garden hose, connected it to the outside tap and gently persuaded her to aim the resultant trickle at what little bits of hedge still remained. Then I changed my mind. I adopted ‘Plan B’ and asked her to telephone ‘Les Pompiers’ (The Fire Brigade). In the meantime I grabbed a bucket and started collecting buckets of water from our pool and attempting to extinguish the conflagration.
Leylandii crackles quite loudly when it burns I discovered. Just as well really as I was in no mood by this time to listen to Memsahib’s remonstrations. Twenty minutes later though and even before les Pompiers turned up I had managed to extinguish it all by myself. Either that or it had burned itself out of its own accord. Nonetheless the fire crew decided to douse down the embers. I guess so as to obviate a flare up later but then on second thoughts it was more likely so as to fill as much time as possible to complete ‘a shout’. In other words a call-out and from which as a volunteer crew they are entitled to claim a bonus. Not that I blame them. Heroes to a man and woman this bunch and they deserve any reward they can get. Including the wine we all consumed after they had rolled up their hoses and they, along with all my neighbours that turned up to admire my handiwork, along with Memsahib and me, all sat round our pool, admiring our new view across the fields.
I’ve finished landscaping now.
For the day anyway.