I sometimes wonder happens when people get hold of saws, secateurs or sheers. Our story starts with our nice Danish neighbour who pops over to say he is trimming the dividing hedge. We chat about the right height to prune and some of the brutal tree cutting down the road. Then he fires up the chainsaw and all hell breaks loose.
The nice neighbour has become another power-mad man with a power tool, slaughtering the hedge like a demented ork in the Hobbit. At first paralysed, I run through the snow to plead some sensitivity. Surprised, he stops. The hedge will of course grow back just maybe not this year.
Next, my gentle-hearted Danish wife gets the lopper in her hands… It is going so well at first. We are resolved to prune back some of the old, overshadowing bushes. I trim some of the sprawling, witchy, waving shoots. We stop for a delicious sandwich in the snow. Things are going well. The air is crisp, the snow crunchy underfoot, the mix of fire smoke and sea air smells delicious, like kippers.
But then I turn my back for a minute – well, truthfully, nap for an hour (blame the fresh air). The bush is unrecognisable, almost gone, diminished. Hidden behind a giant pile of lopped branches, kind-hearted Henri has turned genocidal. Who was to know the madness was viral. Once some start to cut and prune it’s impossible to stop.
Our snowy walks by the sea are tranquil, the Scandinavian sunsets awe-inspiring, we will be back soon for early spring, a favourite time, but until then I have locked the shed and hidden the key.