10 Forsythia Grove
CORSETTSHIRE ZY6 4GT
My Dear Ralph
Owing to exciting events of one kind and another pet, I have not had an opportunity to put pen to paper. Earlier on in the week, I went off on a jaunt with my co-students to study arboricultural machinery out at Further Niblet. It was most illuminating, I must say, to actually observe wood chippers and stump grinders in action, and then to have the opportunity to throw branches into the jaws oneself! The headgear one is required to oufit oneself in - helmet, visor, and ear muffs - seems very effective at muffling the general racket accompanying such activities. It was actually quite fascinating to be examining stump grinder 'teeth' and to observe someone changing wood chipper blades. However, the highlight of the day's proceedings, dear, was to be able to ascend some 20m into the sky on a MEWP (Mobile Extending Working Platform)! It was a trifle disconcerting, I must say, to be hydraulically raised so swiftly up into the air - especially with what appeared to be a vestigial quantity of railings surrounding the basket and no actual harness clipping one on to the side. However, I did my best to look nonchalant, as you may well imagine, although, when someone waved at me from the ground, I did feel a trifle too gripped to be able to take either hand from the rail in order to wave back!
I have also been beavering away at my studies and trying to gain some elementary knowledge of the safe practices associated with the use of a petrol-driven chainsaw. The whole thing does seem somewhat abstract - especially to one who, hopefully, will never have to ascend into the canopy of a tree and actually use one! One whole examination appears to be devoted to the safe use of a winch for directional felling, de-limbing a large tree, and various methods of rescuing tree practioners from out of a tree. If I succeed on boning up on all this dear, you will certainly know who to call if a tree requires to be felled on your own property!
And, finally, this morning, down at the local apiary, I 'succeeded' in getting stung by a bee. I do not think that this was altogether my fault, as I was standing in a group of also partially-disrobed beekeepers when a bee flew in through my unzipped veil. I myself pet, was more than prepared to stand there and wait for the bee to fly out again but, no, another beekeeper snaked his arm into my helmet and squashed said bee into my hair in an effort to extract it! It is most painful to get stung on the side of the head by a honey bee but, luckily, so far, I do not appear to be the type of person who is in any way susceptible to anaphylactic shock - and so there was no requirement to depart the premises by ambulance!
On a more domestic note, I have been acquainting Chumley with the techniques associated with operating a cat flap and we have had one or two pleasant saunters out in the fresh air together. I have also been levering up the odd paving slab, lugging about giant bags of compost (you know, I'm sure I saw the back end of the Banger 0.9L sink about 10cm when I loaded up the other day) and threading galvanized garden wire through any number of screw eyes.
Nevertheless dear, I do feel rather lonely out here in the sticks and hope to acquire a human companion of an empathetic kind in the forseeable future.