Delinquent Gnomes

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Footsteps, yarns and little fibs

When things go wrong around here, its the delinquent gnomes!

Submitted: May 07, 2018

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Submitted: May 07, 2018



There’s a well-known tale about a shoemaker who happens to be down on his luck, during the night a bunch of elves come along and they make the shoes out of the leather he’s prepared. They continue to help the old shoemaker until his missus makes clothes for them and they disappear. The shoemaker and his missus were lucky, they had shoddily clad, but good, and friendly elves. Around here though, we have delinquent gnomes!

They’ve been around for years, but to my knowledge, nobody but one’s ever seen them! Well you wouldn’t would you? They’re secretive. Logically thinking, how do we know they’re gnomes? Well old Zeb way back in the distant past was the one, he claimed he saw gnomes on his way back from Zac’s house. Of course it had nothing whatever to do with Zac’s latest brew of apple cider, Zeb was sober as a judge. They couldn’t have been leprechauns, they wear green, and elves wear brown hats and wide belts. Fairies have wings and gremlins are downright ugly buggers. Gnomes have rose-red noses.

Zeb had plenty of superstitious followers, so through the years most unfortunate and unexplained happenings were put down to gnome activity. Sure there were plenty who poo-pooed the idea, but you can never fool with myths. Why, in my own garden I’ve seen fairy dunnies, and smelt them! Try to tell an Irishman there’s no such thing as leprechauns! Any mechanic worth his salt will gets rid of the gremlins in your vehicle and as for elves? Well the shoemaker and his missus did alright didn’t they?

As far as my own experience goes the gnomes have caused many a misfortune, like the time they opened the gate and let my cows into Fanny McMurtrey’s cabbages. She didn’t believe in gnomes and put the blame squarely on my shoulders! But there were two gates to be opened mine and the gate into her garden patch! So how could it be my fault? I even had to mend her fence that fell down overnight! There’s gratitude for you!

There have been as many unhappy happenings as fingers on both my hands, but let me focus on yesterday, just yesterday. I’m cutting some Thuya trees that have become too tall, so there’s a risk that they could topple onto the house. While I don’t have the equipment your modern arborist might have, I make do with old fashion methods, clapped out equipment and a bit of luck. I use a wire strainer to pull the trees over, but if I need more power, I have my truck and ropes and pulleys. The bank the trees grow on is as steep as a hen’s face, and the soil was wet with all the rain we’ve had, so footing was decidedly tricky. Tiring on the legs too! Mind you now I’ve finished the job, I might buy some boots that have some good tread on the sole!

Anyway, before I make my cuts, I have to secure a chain a good way up the tree to make it easier for my wire strainer and for me to pull on the lever. The higher up the tree, the better. I use a D shackle to join the chain around the top of the tree. A twelve foot ladder helps me shinny up the pruned trunk and then I climb into the tree. I fumbled and dropped the shackle pin - bah! It’s small thing, less than two inches long and as thick as a pencil. On my hopeful way down, I found it lodged delicately on a branch, which demonstrates that my eyesight isn’t blunt and that luck favoured me by having no gnomes around.

Once the tree was down, I wanted to pull the log into position to act as a barrier, stopping other trees from rolling down the bank and smashing into my indigenous plantings. There’s a D shackle on each end of a metre of chain, and one of them simply disappeared, evaporated into thin air! The ground was clean, ish, apart from some dead leaves and sticks. I had my sharp eyes too! Those quick gnomes were at it again! A pin is easily lost but not a whole blinking’ D shackle, anyway, without the pin it’s a useless U! Well, I searched, lost a whole hour, retracing each footstep and slide I had previously made. Up and down that steep hill, up and down! Conclusion: My D shackle has been added to some gnome secret collection!

Ding, ding, lunchtime! Actually we have no bell, it’s just an alert that goes off in my head, but it was lunchtime. I discarded my overalls and put on my shirt – of course we don’t dress for lunch! My overalls are covered in oil and sawdust and while I took my shirt off because I was warm, it was work-warm, activity. You know. After lunch I donned my overalls. But I couldn’t find my work-gloves! I wasn’t even sure where I took them off, but at least they weren’t over the hen face-steep bank! They could have been where I tip my green waste over a bank, but no. They could have been in my woodshed, but no, not there. They could have been on the outside drying wood heaps, but no again. And they weren’t on my workshop bench!  I was beginning to suspect the gnomes.

Around and around those same likely places I went. The situation was ridiculous and I cussed! Gloves don’t just disappear! I have others, several in fact, most have been overused and should have been dumped ages ago, but you never know when those gnomes will strike, and recycling’s the thing these days! I worked most of the afternoon using unfunctional gloves until I needed the wheelbarrow to shift some of the firewood I had cut. There, camouflaged on the wheel, sat my gloves! Those pesky delinquent gnomes must have replaced them in the most unlikely of places while I wasn’t looking!





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