Title Bar




Tulip from Amsterdam...


... well actually Bournemouth and we're talking wood not flowers here matey. Even the latter is a bit far these days for my old Landrover. ( I'm going to resist going off on a tangent about dikes and putting fingers in them) the old Landy like most old ladies likes to be close to home and puffs and pants up even the slightest gradient.


Rob got round that by providing me with a very comfy 4 x 4 and a trailer that has brakes and everything legal. That's how it is with Rob's kit everything works even trailer lights. He also puts the hours in preparing so when I rolled up early I thought for a Saturday morning he had been there two hours and the fleet was hitched, ready to go and there were even 2 horses in the background standing by as back up.

Prepared for take off

It's only about 40 minutes...


... he says ( it wasn't ). It probably doesn't help being stuck behind a selfish woman driving a horse box at 5 mph for ten miles and the obligatory stop for Rob's Mc Gutrot breakfast but we got there in the end.


You can get right along side he had said. I thought he meant like at Farleigh School where the trailer was 2 foot from the tree but he meant outside the house in whose garden the tree was.


Still, the family were friendly as were the neighbours which was handy as Rob had forgotten the ladder vital for the first cut with an Alaskan mill.



There's only ten minutes of...


... chipping he says. He wasn't too far out with this but just neglected to mention that there was several hours clearing the branches and cordwood and lugging them to the chipper outside. This is where we could do with a third or fourth helper.


Rob is hanging on until his girls are big enough to come and help. What he doesn't realise is that by the time they are they won't want to be lugging wood when they can be doing teenagery things like sleeping and playing computer games.


Still the forcasted heavy rain didn't appear, just an annoying drizzle.

Getting ready to mill

We'll be finished by one...


... he had confidently predicted. I had heard this before so wasn't too surprised that it was nearly noon before the first cut revealed some interesting burr and good straight grain.


Looking at this made me realise that the tree from St Mary Bourne that we had trouble identifying was not Witch Elm as Brian thought but one from this family without the distinctive green Tulip bit in the middle.


More of the Tulip wood was exposed in the second cut and spirits were high as it looked like we could end up with over 20 cubic feet of something that if it dried well could sell ok in a couple of years. As it much softer than Oak or Ash it looked like it wouldn't take too long to mill the rest.


Tulip Wood

I think I've hit something...


... Rob said as we completed the third run. Unfortunately he was right. What looked like a small nail was a large amount of barbed wire right in the centre of the tree.


The next door neighbour a retired professor and a bright and cheery old boy of 85 told us the former occupant had planted the tree in 1956. I've been hoping the bloody thing would fall down for the past 30 he said, as it had obviously intruded on his light.


At some stage early in it's life it had been used as part of the fence and the barbed wire had grown so deep inside that it wouldn't have been picked up by a metal detector.


Barbed wire in middle

It was a bit of a...


... bugger and certainly buggered up that bit . We had to lose a couple of feet to firewood but after a resharpen we cracked on and finished that log.


Resharpening isn't only laborious ( Not for me, I take a break then!) it also eats away a bit more of the chain and 3 resharpens cost £7 in the heads for the electric sharpener so it dulls the enthusiasm as much as the the mill.


A bit of a lift was needed...


... what could be better that discovering that this tree had been the secret hiding place of the previous owners fortune in the form of gold, but more of this later.


I am reminded of the the time shortly after he had split with Princess Diana when Charles was up at Balmoral flying around the estate in his Landrover. Swinging round the corner he hit and squashed flat the Queen's favourite Corgi. Terrified about what Mumsie was going to say he bursts into tears and sits sobbing at the roadside.


A little green man appears and says " Hello there I'm Seamus and I'm here to grant you a wish, though quite what I'm doing in Scotland is beyond me"


" Oh thank goodness says Chas, I've just killed Mummy's No1 four legged shit machine and I don't know what she'll say, I'm already in her bad books over that Di business"


Seamus has a look at the dead dog and says "It's a bit far gone, is there anything else you'd like?"

Well, says Big C " I don't suppose you could make Camilla a bit better looking in the boat race department? "


" Let's have another look at that Corgi, " says Seamus pragmatically.


Meanwhile back at the mill...


... the rain is coming in again, Rob has a backache but we're ploughing or even milling on. " Shit I've hit something again ". As this was on the next bit up far higher than the fence line we really didn't expect anything.



Blimey, it's gold I say...


... don't be a **** Rob says " It's brass ". Well, it looked gold and not only wasn't it the previous occupants secret stash of gold hidden in the heart of the tree it was also end of the milling for the day.


The other silver bits are 6" nails.


Why do people plant trees and then fill them full of metal? Answers on a postcard - first one out wins a knackered chainsaw blade.


So the hunt for the elusive metal free tree goes on.





Top of Page