10 Forsythia Grove
CORSETTSHIRE ZY6 4GT
My Dear Ralph
I am sorry there has been a hiatus in my correspondence, but I have been otherwise engaged in thoughts about Pom-Pom and in activities related to carpets and tile paint.
I have also recently embarked on some tree work over at Colonel Mustang's extensive premises. Now I have my tree certificate, I would like to use it. On my first visit, I was trotted over to a mature Beech tree which was lying prone across the lawn, having snapped off at the base in the recent high winds. 'I wonder if you could identify the fungus sprouting out of the side of this tree?' asked Penelope, the colonel's wife. Oh dear pet. I do hate questions of this nature. I am always so convinced that I will not know the answer! Luckily however, having studied the blackened excrescence emerging from the bark, I was able to confirm - with some considerable confidence - that the fungus in question was Ustulina deusta. This particular fungus has a penchant for chomping through cellulose, leaving the tree liable to snapping in the slightest breeze and with very little prior warning. As there was a very similar Beech tree (standing) in the immediate vicinity of the fallen one I was, of course, keen to assert the possibility of said fungus trotting across to it via a root graft. 'What we need to do' I said, 'is to establish any evidence of decay in this other tree with my extra-long, brad-point, wood drill bits!' I am particularly keen to try out these items on an actual, real-life, tree. It should be most exciting generally sniffing the aroma of emergent wood shavings! Maybe I should practise first on a deceased log? What do you think dear?
I do wish, however, that I hadn't professed an extensive knowledge of swimming pool maintenance as, with their other gardeners on holiday, I was asked to inspect the pump! This item had apparently been making noises along the lines of a liquidizer which had been fed a particularly tough leather boot. Well I locked myself in the pump house and studied the equipment, bracing myself to lift one or two lids and examine the contents. Somehow, God knows how, a deceased waterfowl of some description had been sucked into the device and all that was required was for me to fish it out! I must says I was quite flushed with my success and, thus emboldened, thought I'd dive in and swim down to the pool drain situated at what appeared to be the deep end. Oh dear pet! I think I should have thought to turn the pump off before embarking on an activity of so risky a nature. I really thought I might never emerge alive as, having applied my nose to the grille - in order to have a really good look - it became obvious that quite some considerable suction was in operation! And, if it hadn't been for the proximity of the pool ladder, around which I hooked a high heel, I think I would have been altogether extinguished. I wonder if you could possibly acquire some kind of reference volume for me on this subject - ideally before the start of next week!