A little while ago, I wrote about how I had become a busy little beaver around the house; fixing this, cleaning that and even making a vegetable garden. I made wonderful promises about how I was going to feed our family (and a number of our neighbours) with the produce from our little Eden, and I swear I believed those promises as I wrote them down.
Well there’s some good news and some bad news. I’ll start with the good news. My family certainly won’t go hungry; the vege patch has been highly productive. Unfortunately (and here’s the bad news), I have only been able to find one recipe for grass and other assorted weeds. I only turned my back for a little while (if a week is a short time in politics, surely eight weeks isn’t that long in gardening?), and now there is a small corner of the garden which looks like a green version of Dennis the Menace’s dog Gnasher (including the teeth).
I found this quite upsetting, but to be fair, it’s to be expected. You see most weekends, my get-up-and-go, does just that, leaving me, a blob of useless humanity on the couch.
This weekend was different though! After taking Fraboo to her swimming lesson, I moved three beds (took them apart and re-erected them in different rooms), finished cleaning the fence, and even picked up some of my dirty socks! Finally I began trawling the internet, looking for a truck or tractor tyre. Why do I need another spare tyre I hear you say? Haha very funny. I’m actually rather sensitive about my weight!
But really why did I want another tyre? Well, it all stems from feelings of considerable inadequacy. As I’m sure you are aware, Mrs L.’s parents are staying with us at the moment. Over recent years I have grown to enjoy the company of her folks, but it hasn’t always been the case. I think that it would be fair to say that I am probably quite a long way from their dream son-in-law, and the biggest (or maybe the biggest) black mark next to my name stems from taking their daughter (and subsequently their grandchildren) to the other side of the world. Ultimately, my feelings toward them, came down to my immaturity and our almost complete opposite nature. For this I can only apologise. Anyway, once again, I digress.
Her Dad (who will now be referred to only as Gargar), is very handy indeed. Since they have come to stay he has been awesome! Amongst other things he has fixed four bikes, resurrected a sandpit, replaced hinges and sorted out the front door (please don’t be alarmed, the house is quite safe for human habitation). These efforts however, were but nothing compared to his crowning achievement, at least as far as the children are concerned. He strung up a pair of tyre swings from a tree in the garden.
Initially I was a bit cross about it. I mean, I’d bought some rope (don’t ask) and we had a pair of old tyres in the garden. Why hadn’t I thought of that? The answer is simple, and twofold. Firstly I wanted to chop that tree down, and secondly I don’t like heights.
Well, that’s not strictly true. I’m not afraid of heights themselves, but I am terrified of falling from a height. This is not without justification however, as I am one of the clumsiest people you are ever likely to meet. Not only that, given New Zealand’s colourful seismic past, I don’t want to add to the possibility of some sort of cataclysmic event. I’m sure those tectonic plates don’t need any more encouragement, and given my reasonable bulk, I don’t want to puncture the earth’s fragile crust!
Anyway, back to the tree. After scouring the internet for a truck tyre (not a puny little car one like Gargar had used), a neighbour sold me one which had been used as a swing, and already had some substantial chains attached to it. I then went to the hardware store and I bought some rope, and with considerable angst, clambered up into the tree.
The first problem I encountered was discovering that 30 metres of rope is actually quite a lot to be manipulating. For me, this would have been a difficult enough task on the ground, but 8 metres up a tree, things are very unnerving. However I had the thought of the kids enjoying my tyre swing more than Gargar’s to spurn me on, and whenever I thought of giving up, I thought of the squeals of joy my efforts would produce.
Eventually I was happy with how I had secured the rope and began to clamber down the tree, only to discover I had inadvertently tied my left arm to the tree! No matter. Another half an hour later, after I had disentangled my arm and resecured the rope again, I once again began my decent. This time the right arm was caught, and I was beginning to wonder if this was one of my less well conceived ideas.
Eventually I managed to get down from the tree and leave the rope in roughly the position I intended it to be. Mrs L. and I then attached the tyre and found that it was too low, so back up into the tree I went again.
Finally it was ready, and the kids do love it at least as much as Gargar’s.
I don’t tend to feel particularly proud of myself, largely as I don’t tend to do anything which deserves my pride. This time though, I have made two giant leaps forward as a man. Firstly I confronted my fear of heights, and secondly I actually made something, which actually does what it is supposed to.
It probably wouldn’t be entirely accurate to say that I was inspired by Gargar, but it’s fair to say that I received a little extra motivation by his being here, and both I and the kids are very grateful for that. At least until the rope breaks!