NPC Newsletter (2nd New Series) No. 50 - Feb. 2000

A day in the life of a Clapham Publican

Keith Mannion

Sunday 18th April 99 the day that the tree came down.

NPC (Northern Pennine Caving Club): - Cave Explorers, Cave Divers, Climbers, Intrepid Himarlian Mountaineers, and Explosive experts.

Now add to this impressive list 'Tree Surgeons'

New Inn late Saturday night some months ago in the bar, I mention that I have a big problem; the tree at the beck side is ill and has to be felled. "Not a problem," said Kev "we can do that!"

Saturday night 17th April the 'tree fellas' start to congregate at the New Inn. Uncle Bert (aged 72) ("sorry, I've got to leave early in the morning I'm orienteering in Gainsborough tomorrow") and others including Jim Ayres and Bob Makin.

9.30 am Sunday: the experts from Doncaster, called in by Kev have not arrived; Kev and Bob disappears up the road for more gear.

'Expert' and 'Tree Gorilla' arrive, after much 'uuming' and 'aarring', gorilla climbs tree and ties himself in. Kev & Bob return looking decidedly pissed off; Kev wants to climb the tree.

The first bough is cut off, descends 60ft and shatters across the road spraying shards of tree over onlookers and the New Inn; Ken is in full control of the traffic.

I decide to put the shutters on in the New Inn

Then the destruction of the tree mounts apace, Jeremy, Eski, Bob & Kev playing in the water hooking up boughs fallen into the beck with Farmer Ernie and Milkman Tommy driving tractors, pulling boughs from the beck.

Barbara looking on shouting: "Mind my plants, mind my plants".

Margaret & Iris brewing up, all and sundry loading trailer and sweeping the road locals and tourists watching and photographing in utter amazement, Ken on traffic duty, and me shitting myself 'is Bob going to blow the stump out of the ground', the 'expert' hadn't brought a big enough saw!

Our two local Head Teachers busily picking up sticks for their fires, JC missed out on a freebie there, he could have cancelled his gas contract for a year or more and cooked over an open log fire.

5pm the road cleared the tree stump stuck up steaming (on fire) like a giant phallic symbol, a raging fire going in the beck side as Eski and Kev poured 10 gallons of diesel over the smaller boughs.

"We'll be back in a couple of weeks to down the stump" says Kev, and "the other tree is not a problem, I'll climb the tree and cut the boughs off, not a problem" disappears down road.

"Oh shit"


Monday evening 5.30pm, 26th April, Bob Makin arrives at New Inn, " has Kev arrived, we're going to knock the stump down tonight"

5 minutes later Kev flies around the corner with Billy and 'expert', "we will have it down in half an hour" says 'expert'

3 hours later it refused to move after we discover the 'expert' has only brought a 30 inch chainsaw and 4 small plastic wedges and made a complete balls of cutting through the stump.

At this point Kev and Bob (Makin) were discussing the finer arts of 'blowing it', 'kicking it', 'thumping it', or 'pulling it' down from the other side of the beck with Bob's Landrover.

While Clapham inmates looked on in anticipation.

Enter farmer Ernie and his tractor.

We locate a suitable beam to tie to his tractor's front loader.

Ernie, Tractor and Beam used as a battering ram, charge like a rampant bull at the Stump and 'lo and behold' after 4 hours of blood, sweat and almost tears, the stump crashes into the beck side, job completed to the satisfaction of all concerned.

Should anyone want logs for their fire please feel free to turn up in Clapham with a saw and pop across the road!

Many thanks to all of the NPC who participated on the Tree Surgery Day and the Sequel.

> NPC Newsletter 50:
---> Back to contents
---> Previous page: Winter Climbing 1998-1999
> Out of printpublications list
> Indices to NPC explorations:
---> Listingsby date
---> Alphabetical listing by cave
---> Index to articlesby author
> Northern Pennine ClubHome page