Friday, June 4, 2010
The Great Chain Saw Massacre at The Deenery
The Ex Eircom pole!
Here we are in sleepy County Clare, nothing much happens. It was a beautiful day and Jim and I had been happily gardening in the sunny weather.
Suddenly, we heard a chain saw and it sounded close by. We thought it was coming from the access road to our neighbours' house. Then we both noticed the telegraph pole was wobbling, it wobbled some more and as we rounded the corner, there was farmer Martin with chain saw in hand and a big smile on his face. The pole crashed down - right onto our gate. AAAAH!
Now you may know that we've had a few disagreements with the couple who use our road to get down to their property. All is well now, which is great. It seemed one of their biggest problems was opening and closing said gate, which is a huge farmyard type gate and it used to drag on the floor - making it quite difficult to operate. Jim spent 2 days rigging up and concreting a new post and fixing and the gate now works perfectly, so all is good with the neighbours, which is a huge relief.
The gate now had a large dent in it and an even larger telegraph pole sitting on top of it. We were worried that it wouldn't work again. Now Jim and I, not surprisingly, lost it with Martin. I shouted at him to turn the chain saw off, which he did, fortunately. Martin owns the field next to our property - the other side of the gate. The telegraph pole in question was on Martin's land. 'Why have you cut down an Eircom pole?' 'It's on my land' he mutters, very drunkenly. 'But it belongs to Eircom, not us'. 'It's on my land'.
Now this pole had been on Martin's land for some 11 years! However, something in his head and a few cans of beer, had made him decide he didn't want it on his land any more. Jim went and fetched the neighbours. Amazingly, their phone was still working, the line was stretched taught but not broken. Sandra went and phoned Eircom and explained the situation. The chap on the other end of the phone couldn't stop laughing! I guess it's not everyday someone takes a chainsaw to one of their poles! They said they would send some chaps out to 'make it safe'.
Jim rang the Garda too. A very friendly policeman came along fairly quickly and stayed, chatting, for about an hour or so! He knew Martin, of course, as do most of the Garda in the vicinity. He said he'd call back the next day and take a statement and see the neighbours and try and find Martin.
It was almost dark when the 2 Eircom vans pulled up and the chaps scratched their heads at the scene confronting them! 'Why did he saw it down?', 'It was on his land'. They didn't understand it, naturally. You have to know something of the Irish psyche to understand their feelings about 'their land'. For many years they were not allowed to own any land due to laws passed by the UK government. When the republic was formed, the land was 'shared out' in a rather random way it seems, and thousands of often obsessive Irish landowners were created.
Martin owns many many acres of land but he didn't want this pole - 2feet into his field - on his land. Now the reason it was put there (with Martin's permission) originally, was that the previous owners of our cottage wouldn't allow it on their land. Ye Gods, it gets worse, doesn't it?
Anyway, back to the events of the evening. The 2 jolly telephone chaps lifted off the pole and fixed the line temporarily until a new pole could be erected. 'Anyone want a telegraph pole?' they asked. 'We'll have it for gateposts, if you can cut it in half for us' said our neighbour, happily. Off went one of the workmen, and yet another chainsaw swung into action. Behold, 2 gate posts were created! Sandra was dispatched back to her house to check that the phone was still working, having been disconnected and reconnected again.
When she returned, she said she thought someone had been in the house as the kitchen floor was covered in water - or something - and very muddy footprints. Our friendly Garda was called and the neighbours waited in our house until he arrived. Cups of tea were called for. The Garda decided it was, of course, Martin who had waltzed into the neighbours' house while they were up with us and the eircom workers. Jim took photos. Pete's 5 bottles of beer had also vanished. That confirmed it.
We were all sitting in our kitchen, us, the neighbours and the Garde, when Martin wandered past the kitchen window! Off went the garde to tackle him about today's events. I don't think he got much sense out of him and he decided to take him home.
Sandra was very nervous about being at home and didn't sleep at all that night. We felt that once Martin was home, he'd probably collapse into bed and stay there. So the next day (yesterday), Jim and I were working away in the garden as usual when our garde arrived. He went off and saw the neighbours and had a long chat with Martin, who realised how stupid he had been, the post and its position having nothing to do with us!
We decided not to prosecute for anything as Martin has enough problems already. It's possible that Eircom may bill him for a new pole but as he hasn't any money they'll be wasting their time. In the meantime we await the arrival of a new pole - which will be erected on OUR side of the fence! Oh, the gate is still working, although you now have to lift it slightly to start it off. It's still annoying but, in the scale of things, not exactly the crime of the century.
All we wanted was a quiet life......
Jim fetched Pete to inspect the damage.