He's a Lumberjack and He's OK...

This tree-feller sits nonchalantly in the tree while he hacks off the branches around him. 
Once that branch has gone he will have little to hold on to!

Next to Jane and Sean's house was a huge camphor tree that was causing problems. One end of the house was always in shadow, because of the overhanging branches. This caused serious damp problems as the walls never dried out. So, they asked the complex manager if it could be moved. Fortunately, camphor trees are non-native trees to South Africa, and not only could, but should be removed.

The South African government has a programme in place to remove all non-native trees.The camphor tree was imported into South Africa as a shade tree or wind-break, as well as for its medicinal oils. Unfortunately, it uses a vastly disproportionate amount of water when compared to indigenous plants. It is estimated that alien plants in South Africa use in excess of 3.3 billion cubic metres of water per year, equivalent to that flowing through 26 of the largest dams in the country. So, in the interests of natural biodiversity, ecology and Jane's sanity, the tree had to go.

Now, I have never seen a tree removed before, but I cannot but think that the famous British 'elf and safety would not have approved of the South African way. It was efficient, but very scary! Without any harnesses or safety nets, two men climbed up into the tree and began sawing bits off - sometimes with a bow-saw, and sometimes with a power saw. They had ropes, but the ropes were attached to the cut branches so they could let them down to the ground. The men had to cling onto the tree as best they could, using a spare arm or their legs.Here are the photos I took. The question is, would you do this?

As you can see, the ladder isn't quite long enough, so the guy had to shin up the tree.

It's a miracle that the guy on the top didn't send the huge branch he was cutting 
on top of his mate below!

Perched precariously on a sawn-off branch, the tree-feller saws through a huge part of the trunk.

The next day, they came back to remove a branch from another tree that was dangling dangerously over Jane's garden. Here, the man sawed off bits of the branch as he wriggled backwards - not for the faint-hearted I think! (Also note the absence of any protective gear!!)

Elizabeth Coughlan


Flying into Summer

David and I left the depths of a European winter and jetted off into a South African summer. Our first stop was Johannesburg, where we stayed with Paddy, Irene, Karen, Bedi and the boys. It was so lovely to see them all. Our family is so spread around the world that we savour the moments when we can spend time together.

Irene and I went to the Chinese market, where we bought some crystals to make jewellery, while David and Paddy watched the tennis finals. That evening, Paddy treated all of us to a wonderful dinner at Adega, a Portuguese restaurant.

From the left: Kian, Irene, Paddy, David, Karen, Liam and Ian enjoying a meal at Adega's.

Then we flew to Durban to stay with Jane, Sean, Shannon and Jordan. David stayed for a few days as he had to get back to Istanbul, but I will be here until 11th March, when I go to Cape Town.

Jane and I are having a productive time, as we sit at our computers every morning while the children are at school. Jane has a contract to edit and update the content of www.ihatetaxis.com - plus other writing, while I am adding to my portfolio at Helium.

Shannon and Jordan are a delight, and it is lovely to watch them as they learn new things every day. We are very blessed to be able to visit our far flung family.

Shannon and Jordan



David flew to San Francisco yesterday, to recruit more teachers for his schools. We wish him well and hope he finds what he s looking for!!

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I couldn't resist this one!