Tuesday, 26 January 2010

For the chop.

Have been feeling very low of late. Stuff which should have me rattling the keyboard at warp speed has quite frankly left me cold. Basically, I couldn't be arsed about anything. Not a proverbial sausage. Mrs S noticed and prodded me about how I felt.
"I don't know." Was the only answer I could give her. "I've just hit the buffers, that's all"
"Well, you moved house alone with a dose of flu, and we've had all the immigration fuss recently, so I'm not surprised. You're over stressed and need proper rest." Suggested my much better half. "Go to bed." Then she smirked. "I could always call the vet." Thank you dear.

She's quite right of course, I've been under the gun recently regarding work and had no real outlet for my frustrations. It kind of drains you after a while. Blood pressure goes up and you're left feeling tired all the time. Just like I used to feel back in the UK. Now all the medicals and form filling are completed I'm just about to keel over. The only thing I disagreed about was the 'go to bed' suggestion.

My solution? We have a log fire. Log fires need logs. Logs must be split and dried. It's a vigorous, highly physical activity which gets the blood pumping and burns a lot of excess calories. Landlord has a nice six pound log splitter with a thirty inch handle which he let me borrow today. He also has forty plus sections of approximately thirty inch diameter chunks of tree trunk already chainsawed into fourteen or so inch lengths sitting in the front yard. Each one weighs around a hundredweight (50kg ish). Ergo I have been splitting these hundred pound plus chunks of timber into eight or twelve sections per log ready for fiery sacrifice in our Moloch of a woodburning stove. Of course these things will take a few months to dry in the log store, but in the meantime, they're good solid exercise. Something to work up a good honest sweat about. Clear the arteries, lower the blood pressure, pump up under used muscles, all that jazz. Because at the moment the teaser below from the 'Incredibles' feels awfully familiar. My figurative superhero costume is, shall we say, a little snug in places. I need to peel off a few pounds, and the only way to do it is heavy physical exercise.

I like cutting wood the hard way. There's something about the smell of fresh split timber, the clean grain and pale straw of the sapwood with its abrupt transition into the rich orangey brown of the heartwood. The shock as your Maul bites deep into the grain. The splintery cracking noise of a clean cut followed by a solid thump as another fifteen to twenty pound log is sheared through, bouncing off the block ready for piling up to dry. Highly satisfying. Takes about five to ten minutes and about forty strikes per log. See picture below.

I have elected to cut at least five of these log sections a day. Just to get the old muscles back in some sort of tune. Perhaps recondition my currently saggy frame into some sort of fitness. No doubt there are those who would decry such activity, considering it mere physical labour and thus beneath them. Some might choose to go running or visit the Gym to burn off the stress and calories. Spend money at a spa, or visit the health centre, get a massage; but that wouldn't get next years firewood cut now would it?

I like this way best.

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