Friday, March 17, 2023

Comic Cuts — 17 March 2023

We have lived through some interesting times this week, so there's a bit of excitement to alleviate the tranquil work week I usually describe. I'm the first to admit that my life is, on the whole, quite dull. I'm more accountant than lion tamer. Not many rocks are thrown into the pond of my life.

As we first found the tree.
The week was pottering along quite pleasurably. I had the house to myself over the weekend and decided to concentrate on a couple of things for Bear Alley. One was to start another Forgotten Authors essay, for which I managed to pull together 16,000 words of notes—mostly book reviews but some useful biographical information beyond what has been previously known. I also made some corrections to the novel that Mel was proofing for me and revised an afterword taking a look at the career of the author.

On Monday I switched back to work-work (the stuff that pays the rent and bills) on the latest Kelly's Eye volume. I was having some fun reading one of the strips and trying to figure out whether it was the first instance of technological singularity in British comics. That's how I get my fun these days. I had to take a break to run down the road to pick up a prescription from Boots and almost lost my hat thanks to there being a stiff breeze that day—and like any murder-mystery, any incidental comment that sounds oddly out of place will turn out to be significant.

I dozed off after lunch for an hour and woke up around 2:15—not unusual for me, especially as I'd had a couple of late nights—and got back to work. Mel arrived home from her convention about a quarter of an hour later and asked if I knew anything about the tree.

The tree?

At this point we had cleared the road.
We had some gale-strength winds blowing over Sunday night and Monday and it looks like that, plus the rain we'd had soaking and softening the ground, a tree in our front garden had fallen and was now sticking out into the road. It must have only just happened—it's probably what woke me up.

While I was looking at it, I spotted a neighbour and asked (facetiously) whether he had a chainsaw. No, but it turned out he had a really good bow saw and an electric saw. He and a friend, who had just driven back from the convention with Mel, began sawing off the thicker branches, with me lopping off what I could and cutting through the thick stems of ivy that had all but killed off the tree. It was cut back to about a third of its size some eight or nine years ago and had never recovered; it was just a tangle of ivy, almost impossible to get to because it was bounded on two sides by (our) hedge and (next door's) garden, and had another tree in front of it. We just left it alone. It wasn't doing anyone any harm...

We managed to chop everything back so that it was blocking the path but not the road. At that point we gave up because the rest would require a decent-sized chainsaw. Mel, meanwhile, had been on the phone to our landlady and to the local council. We were told that someone would be out to look at it Monday or Tuesday; there were reports of a lot of trees down and even some power lines, so we had no idea when they might arrive.

The pile that we would have been left with.
While we were wondering what to do, they arrived. Two lads chopped up the trunk with chainsaws and shredded the remnants. We had a huge pile that we had cut down ourselves that at four bags a fortnight would have taken us months to get rid of. Thankfully, and with some drinks money exchanging hands, they relented and shredded the whole lot for us.

Amazingly, the whole operation—from learning about the tree at 2:30 to it being completely disposed of—took two hours! We sat down at 4:30 for a cup of tea and thanked our lucky stars.

And it was back to work on Tuesday. Made some final corrections to the upcoming Guardian obit. for Christopher Fowler, finished reading through the Kelly's Eye stories and started putting my notes in some sort of order. Started writing it up on Wednesday and... here's the confession... I'm writing this on Wednesday afternoon because we have some people coming over tomorrow morning to talk about a book that I'm putting out for someone (similar to the And The Wheel Went Round book I did for Tony and John). As if that wasn't enough to keep me busy, I'm also looking to reprint a couple of old out-of-copyright thrillers. Phew!

What I now need is a few boring weeks to try and get that lot out of the way.

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