9 January 2019

[ Manchester ]

Called to see Mike D en route to Dad’s. We’ve been friends since our first year at secondary school, age 11. Mike, who works on trees, had promised me some sycamore logs. I’d promised Mike my old photographic slide projector, and a magazine about VW camper vans containing a multi-page article about the restoration of his parents’ former van, The Blue Bullet. Conversion rates don’t apply to mutual favours, so we both ended up net winners.

Mike had warned me the logs needed splitting, so I turned up with hatchet, steel wedges, and lump-hammer. Mike provided a sledgehammer for extra heft. The logs had been seasoned well on Mike’s patio, so splitting them turned out easier than either of us expected—although I could have done without the glancing blow to my left thumb with the lump-hammer. It took us about an hour to split a car-boot’s worth. Having the right tools for the job certainly helped. As did the celebratory bacon butties afterwards.

I’ll season most of the logs some more down in our cellar, but I’ll keep a few back for immediate burning, just to let Mike know how excellent they were.

Postscript: The logs really were excellent, and did not need any more seasoning.

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletterBooks
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