I don't usually reread my posts, but I did look at yesterday's, and saw I had used proper and properly too many times in the first paragraph. I blame Events. Today I decided I had caught up with enough sleep to trust myself up on the Henchman platform, and resumed chopping bits off the back of the Eleagnus hedge. It would be nice to finish cutting it. I am getting quite bored with the task. I would like it to start regrowing as soon as possible. I have got three bags of daffodil bulbs to go in the lawn next to it that should have been planted a good month ago, and don't want to start digging holes until I have finished using the step ladder there. That's three reasons, which surely counts as several.
The Systems Administrator appeared around tea time to see how it was going, and exclaimed at how well I was getting on. It is true I am probably on the home straight with the back of the hedge, but the top still needs an awful lot doing. The way it grows is to throw up tall, straight, spindly shoots. These gradually get fatter and begin to branch out. I am not trying to cut the top of the hedge to a level surface, which would be impossible and in any case look ridiculous, but I would like to reduce its average height by thinning out the upright shoots. That's the basis on which we trim the native hedge around the boundary, and the result looks pleasingly relaxed.
Unfortunately the Eleagnus hedge is far too fat for me to reach most of the top, even after reducing its width by a good metre and more. The only way to reach the middle of it is with the long handled string operated loppers. I stand on the Henchman, reach into the hedge with my long pole, position the cutting jaws around a likely stem, and pull the string. If the stem I've chosen isn't too fat it will sever. Then, because the jaws of the lopper don't grip the piece I've just cut off, I spend a minute or three with the long pole flicking the cut stem towards me until I can reach it to pull it out of the hedge. The alternative would be to leave a thatch of dead cut stems where they fell and wait for them to blow off.
Sometimes the cut twigs don't want to be flicked, because they are intertwined with other twigs, especially the ones that gave up growing vertically some time ago and have been wandering sideways around the top of the hedge, and the long pole is quite heavy. By tea time my shoulders were beginning to ache. When I returned after tea intending to do a final hour's work and found Mr Fidget devouring the head of a pigeon surrounded by feathers, while Mr Cool and Our Ginger sat watching, I decided that perhaps I had had enough of the daffodil lawn for one day, and went to weed the gravel instead, until I found the weed I'd just pulled up was a tuft of Dianthus carthusianorum, at which point I decided it was getting too dark.
Some of the growth along the top of the hedge is too thick to cut with the pole loppers anyway. A few times I discovered I had bitten off more than I could chew, and had to jiggle the pole frantically until the cutting blades came loose from the overly fat stem they were half embedded in. Once I've done as much as I can by hand, the SA will have to finish the job with the long handled electric chainsaw.