Sunday, 31 January 2010

Apples and lemons

Another contrasting boy/girl weekend, in long and rambling post form.

Today I've been helping prune an apple orchard. Rows of dormant trees whose fruit will produce some of the finest organic apple juice you'll ever taste some time next October, pruning them involves thinning and controlling the unruly growth from last summer such that the tree produces a few fewer apples than it might but those that it produces are of better size and flavour than they might otherwise have been.

Standing in a frosty orchard with a set of lopping shears is a very peaceful activity and though it's damn cold at this time of year it's very satisfying to leave a line of carefully shaped trees behind you.

Occasionally though there's a tree requiring greater surgery than the lopping shears or pruning saw can provide. For these I have to metamorphose from scruffy Jethro Larkin into the protagonist from the DOOM series of games as I reach for the chainsaw.

I'm not a fan of petrol chainsaws, I prefer electric ones. 2 stroke chainsaw carburetteurs are the work of the Devil and I like my power tools to stop abruptly when I ask them to. Reaching above your head with a tool that can quite happily sever your neck is no fun when that tool has a mind of its own. Fortunately in this case there wasn't much needing cutting with the chainsaw and its use passed without incident.

As always doing blokey things in the company of people who know me only as such I have this small voice inside me that wonders just how on earth I get away with it.

By contrast yesterday was much more of a girl day. I spent most of it in bed sleeping off the cumulative tiredness of a month with little sleep, broken by a long phone call in which I came out to my other female ex-colleague I talked about in a previous post. She also was immediately perfectly OK with it. I'd forgotten her degree was in psychology so she asked some pretty searching questions. She'd been worried I was wanting to talk to her to announce some terrible news so I think it was something of a relief to her. We ended up having a fantastic chat about all sorts of things, ending up with a discussion of the portrayal of transgendered people in literature and the media, her field. So now the Ladies Who Know are two in number. I'm really fortunate to have people in my circle who I can talk to like this. Why on earth didn't I do it ages ago?

Yesterday evening was spent at an Italian restaurant in the company of the other Lady Who Knows and her SO, up in town for a weekend. Really nice food and wine, but what possessed us to have limoncello at the end of it all? This mornings was the first hangover I've had in quite a while. Lemons should stay in non-alcoholic form.

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