Hints & Tips
Now. We all know this is the time of year to be a gathering wood like so many old witches and crones in fairy stories bent double with bundles of faggots on their backs. I always wondered why they were called faggots as, to me faggots were a spicy meatball type thing made of bits and brains and elbows that my paternal uncle Walter used to adore, and I could never work out why an old woman would want them on her back. I have tried looking up the etymological derivation of faggots as bundles of sticks but not even the revered and a tiny bit stuffy Oxford English Dictionary appears to know. perhaps I should email Stephen Fry or Alexander Armstrong or another of those brainy BBC quizzy boffins who seem to know everything about everything but in the meantime… let’s talk about wood gathering in the 21st century.
I was recently talking to my Uncle Walter Woodward, the afore-mentioned faggot fanatic. He’s actually my uncle in law, of course, having married my Mother’s mad sister Beatrice many years ago. Beatrice is as bonkers as a box of baboons and specialises in hiding under the table dinner parties and jumping out at inappropriate moments shouting ‘fire’, but she’s a sweet old thing and Walter dotes on her. He was debating buying a Chainsaw and Log Splitter for their West Sussex pile, so they can cut up some of the surrounding woodland and throw it on their numerous fires. He asked me for advice on how much he could cut down with your average chainsaw and what type he should cast a glimpse at.
So I did the obvious thing when someone asks me for garden machinery advice. I passed the old buck right along. I called MowDirect and spoke to the lovely Stuart and told him I need a lightweight chainsaw that can basically do a decent amount of cutting, with a good chain bar, good engine and not too pricey. Stuart knows all about these things and the first question he asked was if it was for me? I think I laughed so much it was two solid minutes before I was able to carry on the conversation. I mean, I’m a capable girl and I’ve done DIY, orienteering, paintballing, outward bound courses, my own electrics, a bit of plumbing, climbing trees (not recently) rock climbing and so on… so I’m hardly Barbie, but giving me a petrol chainsaw to play with would be about as sensible as giving a charged paintbrush to a five year old. I’d probably run amok and chop up the wrong trees, or go beserk and cut everything in the vicinity in half you know. There are a number of people who should never be allowed to get their hands on a chainsaw. I’m one, here’s another…
The others include people who are drunk, children, Jeremy Clarkson, scary clowns and anyone with the surname Bonham-Carter.
However, the chainsaw that was recommended to me and that I recommended to Uncle Walter was, by a stroke of luck recommended to everyone yesterday by our F & C* Dick in his excellent blog. The Tanaka ECS 3351 Petrol Chainsaw (35cm Guide Bar), a fab machine that can easily tackle the work Walter would be looking at, has a quality Oregon bar and all the sorts of bells and whistles that chainsaw chaps are wont to require. Jolly decent price too at £269 (RRP £349).
So then I asked about the log splitting, the old chainsaw Log Splitter combination being one of the best double acts since Laurel and Hardy hung up their bowler hats – although not as funny of course – and that makes me wish they had done a film with a chainsaw and a log splittter… or perhaps they did. Anyway, Stuart, and indeed Dick when I tackled him the next day, said that Walter could do far worse than cast his baby blues over the MD 5-Ton Electric Log-Splitter with Stand (Special Offer). “Just the job”, he said, and he’s very happy about the stand since Uncle Walter is of the ageing variety of relative and doesn’t really want to be bending like the above old crones to split his logs. Also costing a not ridiculous amount of dosh at £199.95 (R.R.P: £349.95 ) and only available at at that price at MowDirect itself.
So that’s it. Bit of a swot I was and Uncle Walter was so pleased with his recommendations he slipped me a bottle of something rather nice that rhymes with Molly to take home so we were all happy. See ya. Holly.
* Friend & Colleague