There is unrest in the forest. There is trouble with the trees.
If by "forest" you mean" "our back garden", and by "the trees" you mean "the giant leylandii in our neighbours' garden."
When we bought our house, all those* years ago, we were delighted by the fact that there was a lovely view over the hedge at the end of our garden, across the neighbour's meadow to the river and hills beyond. It was really very pretty, and when you stood in the bathroom in the mornings and looked out of the window at it, it was a sight to gladden the heart.
When the dairy farm down the road still had their herd of Jersey cows, we could see them grazing on the hills, which was very scenic. There are often rabbits and squirrels in the meadow, skipping about gaily. Egrets and herons live on the river, flying in and out in that strange ungainly way, looking like something out of a film set on a distant planet. One with large predatory bird-like aliens.
Our hedge was flanked on the other side by a cherry tree, and a small cluster of leylandii trees, both of which were in the neighbours' garden. The cherry tree in particular was very pretty, with blossom in the spring, and plenty of birds coming to visit when the fruit started appearing.
A couple of years after we moved in, the neighbours had a go at the leylandii, trimming them down a bit, taking a big lump off the top. It was a huge job, I seem to remember they had to get blokes with scaffolding in. This pruning encouraged it to grow. It grew, and it grew and it GREW.
More time passed.
Last summer we noticed that the bottom end of our garden was becoming a bit dank. Mossy and gloomy. Also, peculiarly dry. We realised that the leylandii was both shading the garden from the sun, and shielding it from the rain. Which was a bit of a bugger, as the fruit bed and the vegetable bed are both at that end of the garden.
Over the winter, that tree seemed to loom ever larger, literally and figuratively.
Possibly because I was spending far more time at home in the hours of daylight, it became a bit of an obsession to me. Every time I went into the garden to peg out washing, or water the veg, or mooch about admiring the wild flower garden**, I'd see it, looming darkly over the hedge. I took to standing directly under it and seeing just how much it was overhanging our garden, muttering and grumbling.
Me, not the tree.
All the tree does is grow, grow ever taller, providing a house for the ever-increasing population of idiot Wiltshire pigeons. It has all but swallowed up the cherry tree, one branch of which is poking out desperately, like the arm of a drowning man waving from the ocean.
The view now consists of this:
Bear in mind that the hedge is about 6 feet tall (yes, it needs cutting, we are waiting for all the birds to finish nesting) which gives some perspective on the height of the tree.
Something had to be done.
After much discussion between Mr WithaY and I, and also with the neighbours on the other side, who hate and loathe the tree with a passion, it was decided that I should write a little note telling the tree-owners that their tree was a nuisance.
That took a fair bit of thought. It was difficult to put down just how much of a nuisance and encroachment it had become without sounding like a nimby whining busybody, but I think I nailed it. The note was dropped round to the neighbour, and we waited with bated breath for a reaction. I was preparing all sorts of worst-case scenarios where the local planning office would be involved, and possibly the environmental health authority. And the Army. And Godzilla.
As it happened, within 24 hours we had a visit from said tree-owning neighbour. She looked at it from our garden and was horrified at how big it was, and how much light it blocked. We discussed possible solutions, and the upshot was that I got a tree surgeon to come round and give us some price quotes on pruning it, or cutting it right down.
Another little note has been written to next door telling them that the tree surgeon's opinion is that the whole thing should come down due to its size and position. Mr WithaY and I have offered to pay for it to be removed, as we know that things are a bit difficult for the neighbours at the moment. All we need is their go-ahead, and hopefully by the end of the summer we will have our view, and the sunshine, back.
In other news: We are getting the garage converted, and the bloke is coming on Thursday to conduct the survey. The work is due to start at the end of the month. Exciting.
And in other, other news, I had a job interview last week. Waaaay back last summer I applied for a job, a post I felt that I was pretty well fitted for, and was rather disappointed not even to get called for interview. I put it in the "Ah well" file in my head, and moved on. Last week, there was an email from the people who I had sent my application to. Was I still available for work, and if so, would I like to come and have a chat with them?
Oh yes indeedy. So I went in, had a long chat, and am currently waiting to hear back from them about the possibility of a full-time (but temporary) job which would then hopefully lead to a part-time, permanent job. Which would be perfect.
I'll let you know.
*Ten and a half
**Rampant weedy patch in the corner of the garden