31 January 2013

Stuck on Tihia

When Warren offered to carry my heavy Stihl MS 440 up the Tihia track to where some windfall needed clearing I jumped at the offer. So along with Nick, Sally and Ben from nearby (with whom we’d arranged to have an outing) and Warren’s daughter, Hannah, we launched the “Save the Tihia Track” work party. Along the way some branches and old logs were cleared until we reached the area of recent devastation.  The first task was a very solid freshly fallen Matai, which had fallen across the track.

I took control of the chainsaw – pulling rank with my senior years -  and cleverly proceeded to show them all how it should be done. It was too big for the blade to cover the diameter so under- and over-cuts were made from each side. Suddenly the god Tane reached out and clamped the blade within the final cut. Words were mumbled (humbled might be a better word) and Sally, ever the journalist, was seen to be stalking with a camera – my crestfallen face said it all. “Maybe you’ll like a photo for your blog, Barry?”

No One Taking Responsibility

After several attempts at freeing the vice like grip of Tane I made my best contribution of the morning – “lets just carry on to the summit as if nothing has happened”.  So off we went, Hannah running up and down the track in front of us like some energised toy terrier. We paused at the rocks for Ben to make a brew and so on to the summit.  Celmisias were out and Walenbergias and Thelimitras were seen here and there on the track. In the distance the upper Te Maari crater was still releasing a lot of steam. I empathised.

Ben, Hannah, Sally, Nick and Warren on top of Tihia

Hannah and Ben

On the return hardly a word was spoken as we passed the motionless chainsaw stuck in its vice. Back at Pukawa we replenished our innards and set off back to Tihia with Nick's chainsaw – “Stihl to the Rescue”. Hannah was relieved of her promise to not tell Granny what Grandad had done with his chainsaw. Back at the scene Nick made short work of freeing my saw and we tidied up the area and headed back down again. Despite the fact that the ladies were preparing our communal dinner an outbreak of chainsaw fever occurred.  Every time we came upon something needing attention (two chainsaws- just have to compete) the evening birdsong was shattered by the raucous song of two lustful Stihlbirds amid showers of wood shavings. Ben was grateful that we’d given little thought to the idea of him running back for Nick's saw earlier in the day.
Hannah Meets A Hobbit

Boy, that shower and the first long gin and tonic were great.

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