A chainsaw requires a pair of chaps and the right mindset, says Sam Taylor
At the rear of Rock House is an old, disused ‘twitten’. These narrow stone pathways through the town were built for service access and easier winter routes down the steep hills before tarmac roads. At the rear is also (or was) a vast, out-of-control hedge, which had long been earmarked for the chop. Not just because it was unsightly, which it was. Or that it was blocking out the light in the downstairs loo, which it was. But because it posed a security risk.

Hedges are invariably planted for privacy, particularly in towns where, although we (hopefully) like our neighbours, we don’t really want them to see too much of us. But police crime prevention officers urge that hedges should only be grown to window height so that anyone tempted to smash the glass can be easily spotted. My dilemma? How to embrace this sensible preventative policy and preserve the dignity of those using the bathroom – glancing a passing face while showering is not to be recommended. Especially for the startled passer-by.


For much of this year I haven’t given the expensive process of getting rid of this 10-foot-high green mammoth much thought. Regular readers will be aware there have been more pressing problems; digging up the road for the main drains, for instance. But finally I decided to call in a chap in chainsaw chaps.

Tree and overgrown hedge chopping is definitely best left to the professionals. There’s the chainsaw. Mercea, the chap-wearing surgeon who arrived to operate on our case, used a petrol-operated machine – the safest option as it reduces the chance of being electrocuted or strangled by the power lead. In the last 13 years, 60 people have died and 4,000 have had their lives irrevocably changed by a runaway blade. Then there is the ‘kit’. The chaps to cover your vital organs. Goggles because you need goggles for everything now. And, crucially, the right mindset.


In the wrong hands, like any sharp-edged implement, the chainsaw can be a lethal weapon. During William the Conqueror’s siege of Alençon, residents hung animal hides on their walls to mock his humble beginnings as the son of a tanner. As revenge, he had their hands and feet cut off . Imagine what he’d have done if they’d refused to cut back their leylandii.

Next week: You tell me…