I know it’s Sunday and I don’t write to you on a Sunday because there’s no post person to deliver the letter. So the fact that there’s an envelop on your door mat this sunny morning, well I hope you appreciate the effort I went to to get it to you!
I remember, as a child, watching magic shows where a magician would throw knives at an attractive lady standing in front of a board. They don’t seem to do it any more. Maybe they eventually ran out of ladies or perhaps Health and Safety caught up with them. And Health and Safety in Britain is a real thing with all sorts of rules being put in place to protect people. Numerous times, when abroad, I’ve stopped and said, “You wouldn’t get away with that in Britain” and the truth is, you wouldn’t. Wire left exposed, drains not properly covered, people working without the appropriate protective gear.
Anyway, here I am on holiday sitting on a lounger reading when a short man, in his 50’s I’m guessing, in a tee shirt approaches me. I am made to understand that he has been sent to remove a tree that has fallen on the beach near where I’m sitting and, would I be OK if he goes about his work? I give him a thumbs up and he smiles a rather toothless grin and goes to the tree. The next two hours beggared belief for a Health and Safety Brit abroad. I mean, this is a hotel belonging to an International chain.
He set about the tree with a chainsaw wearing no more than his tee shirt, jeans and shoes that were one degree above beach shoes. No helmet. No protective vest. No visor or ear defenders. Not even study boots. Top that with the fact the tide was coming in and he started the job up to his ankles in water. NO, I thought. But, YES. Waves lapping around his legs he merrily laid into the fallen tree. A young lad with him acted to drag away severed branches while the saw worked on..
I think someone once said there’s a point in life where you just have to suspend belief. If that’s true I can now tick that off the bucket list!
Lower branches dealt with he then began to climb into the remaining ones, balancing in wet shoes whilst both hands operated the saw. By this point I’m mentally rehearsing how I would tie a tourniquet, where I could find something to use as a tourniquet and, strange where one’s mind goes, how long I could apply a tourniquet for without causing further damage. You see, I’d already calculated that the nearest clinic was 10 minutes away by buggy and the buggy had to get here first and…that would only happen after a telephone conversation with the Front Desk where the difficulties of explaining a severed limb to someone whose English might have limitations…you get the picture. Anyway, I settled on 15 minutes. You’re the doctor. I’ll be advised.
AND THEN…our intrepid arboriculturalist climbs a branch higher, the sea now completely under him, and, unable to balance and use the saw with two arms, he takes the saw in one hand and stretches as far as he can to make the next cut. Believe me, I was simultaneously aghast and bordering on panic😳. As the branch came away, the balance provided by the saw cutting the branch was gone and the saw carried on forward with our friend unable to counter it’s motion and weight.
I was on the edge of my chair. I knew where I’d get my tourniquet.
The saw fell in an arc determined by his one arm still holding it and…swung just passed his right leg…I’m talking inches
Apparently, I was told, I look traumatised as the man waved to me, smiling and wandered off, in the water, back up the beach with his lad and chain saw in tow. All I can say is “God bless Health and Safety” and I had a stiff drink last evening.