My Father's Garden: Tree House

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Tree House is a chapter from R J Dent's novel-in-progress, My Father's Garden.

Submitted: May 01, 2016

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Submitted: May 01, 2016

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My Father’s Garden: Tree House

by R J Dent


 

1: Ash

 

My sister had been pestering my father for a tree house for months.

– All my friends have got one.

– Use theirs then.

– It’s not the same, my sister wailed.

– Why don’t I just throw a shed up into the ash tree’s branches? my father said. You can use that.

– You always say something like that when you don’t want me to have nice things, my sister whinged. It’s so unfair. All my friends think I’m a freak because I don’t have a tree house. It’s embarrassing.

– Well, you should always listen to your friends.

– What do you mean? my sister asked suspiciously.

– What I say. It’s not a secret message.

– I don’t understand.

– I’m just saying your friends are right, that’s all.

My sister smiled victoriously.

– I knew it, she said.

My father walked slowly down to the bottom of the garden. I followed him discretely.

Right at the foot of the garden, about four feet away from the fence that separated my father’s garden from the neighbour’s garden was an ash tree. Ash trees grow very straight and very tall. This one was no exception; it had been there for years and was very straight and was about thirty feet high.

My father looked at the ash tree for a very long time.

– That ash tree’s got to go, he muttered.

I remembered the plum tree stump debacle and must have groaned aloud, for my father looked around and saw me standing a few feet away.

– It’s got to go, he said. It’s blocking out valuable light.

I nodded, but remained silent.

So, my sister’s constant carping and pleading was obviously prompting my father to consider committing harm to flora.

– I think I’ll lop its top branches off.

And that’s exactly what happened.

 

2: Tree Fellers

 

One morning, my brother and I went down to the bottom of the garden and found that the once-magnificent stately ash tree was nothing more than a four-foot high tree stump.

There was no sign of the branches and trunk that had been cut off the tree.

– I wonder what happened to the rest of the tree.

– Let’s ask dad.

– Okay.

So we asked our father.

– It’s gone, he said, helpfully.

We looked at him questioningly.

– Tree fellers came for it. He laughed. Tree fellers, he said again.

– People who fell trees? I asked.

My father nodded happily.

– Three of them.

– Oh, I said, not really sure what he was talking about.

– What’s left will be a really good base for a tree house.

My brother and I exchanged a glance.

Our sister’s constant unpleasantly relentless whinging had paid off; she was going to get a tree house.

– Won’t the tree house block out valuable light?

– There’s no need to be flippant, my father said. A tree house in a garden is a positive feature.

– Are you buying or making the tree house? my brother asked.

– A bit of both.

– What does that mean?

– Wait and see.

So we waited and saw.

 

3: Shed

 

I don’t know where it came from or how it got there, but one morning there was a shed on the drive. It wasn’t in one piece; it was a number of pieces or sections of the shed tied together.

I walked around it twice and inspected it. Flimsy wood panels, used and battered battens, damp planks. Another bargain my father had spotted somewhere.

My brother walked in through the gate from his paper round.

I pointed at the shed; he came over and looked at it for less than a second.

– It’s a five foot by three foot pent-roof shed made with self-assemble pressure-treated traditional overlap cladding. It has a solid sheet floor and roof. It has a single door with hasp and staple fastening and one fixed window. It has a selection of felt and fixings. Its general state is not good; in fact, it could be classed as dilapidated; there’s rot, damp and woodworm in the frame and in some of the cladding. My guess is that this is going to be a tree house.

Having delivered his analysis, he went on his way.

– Thanks, I called after him.

He was clever. And, as usual, he was right.

 

4: Tree House

 

The next morning was Saturday and I looked out of the window and saw that my father was carrying the sections of shed down to the bottom of the garden.

After breakfast, I went to see what progress he’d made with the construction of the tree house. Quite a lot, as it turned out.

The base was nailed to the flat top of the tree stump. Three of the side panels were fitted and there were four support posts under each corner of the shed/tree house. There was also a beam running from each corner post to the tree stump to offer extra support.

My father was standing inside the three-sided (tree-fellered) structure, fitting the door in place. He worked fast, using a powerful electric screwdriver to fix the doors by their hinges to the frame. Once that was done, he started work on the roof.

At the rate he was working, he’d be finished by early afternoon.

He was.

 

5: Creosote

 

– It needs to be protected from bad weather, my father said, when my brother and I went to have a look a bit later.

We looked at the tree house as our father trotted off to the shed and returned with a bucket of creosote and a spraying device.

– Won’t it smell quite a lot?

– Yes, said my father, rather cheerfully. It’ll stink to high heaven.

He slopped the contents of the bucket into the sprayer and started work. The sprayer puttered into life and my father coated the outside of the tree house with the dark brown preservative. He made quick work of it. He then climbed the wooden steps he’d made and went inside the tree house.

My brother and I heard the sound of the sprayer and laughed.

– He’s spraying the inside. Why? There’s no interior weather.

– Perhaps it’s his revenge for sis’s constant demands of ‘I want a tree house, I want a tree house, I want a tree house, now!’

– Good. She won’t be able to go in it for weeks.

– Months, hopefully.

– Just in time for the cold weather.

– Excellent.

The sprayer stopped and our father stepped out of the tree house and walked down the steps. He took the sprayer and the creosote bucket back to the shed.

It was a shame our sister was out; we’d have liked to have seen her reaction to her lovely new weather-proof tree house.

 

*

 

My Father’s Garden: Tree House

Copyright © R J Dent (2016)

 

 

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