One thing has been looming very large in my life recently. In fact, it’s been overshadowing everything else. No, it’s not a horrible childhood memory, though I have many of those, or a present day niggle with anyone. It’s the damned blimmin massive tree right outside my front door.

When we first moved in, a couple of people – the surveyor, sage elderly relatives – did raise their eyebrows at the tree, which is about 50 feet high (yes, really) and right outside the front door. You literally have to sidle round it a bit to get in. We loved it, greenery, nature, blah blah blah. I think TL still does love it. But, after two winters of collecting two wheelie-bins a week of leaves, after clearing umpteen falling branches out of the garden, after raking the newly-laid lawn twice a week just to keep the top layer of leaves from killing the fledgling grass …. you get the picture. I just don’t love it any more. In fact, I loathe it.

Did I mention, I’m also allergic to it? It’s a plane tree, and makes me sneeze, from round about now (aaaaatchooo!) to when the leaves fall off and start blocking up our garden again.

Did I mention, I’ve also just had an estimate for clearing the gutters, which are full of branches, leaves, strange pom-pom seeds and other bits of the debris which the tree seems to produce at every minute of the day? And did I mention that the estimate is for £2,355? And that’s without VAT. Yes, it’s actually 20 per cent more than £2,355. A sum so huge I refuse even to work it out.

I’ve talked to the council about it, of course. They say they have a policy of not removing trees as a conservation issue. Conservation? How about conserving my roof, which is threatened by a daily barrage of bits of tree, and in a high wind could well be smashed in by branches? Not to mention squirrels merrily hopping across to eat our electrical wires (apparently they love doing this. A council tree expert told me). How come the tree has more rights to conservation than my house does? Does the tree pay council tax? I think not.

The council has now sent a road-mending team to throw a bit of tarmac on the roots, to make the surface less of a trip-hazard for the elderly, infirm, small children, dogs – well, just everyone. But, as I’ve pointed out, they’ll have to send another team out in a few months’ time, when the gargantuan roots have ripped through this latest bit of pavement, like the Incredible Hulk bursting through wet cardboard.

Well, I’ve sent the gutter estimate to the council. I’m going to see my doctor and ask her to confirm my allergy. I’m going to get the insurance to monitor the roots sneaking, even as we speak, under our path. And now I’m going to lie down and try and forget the very large shadow hanging over the house.

A very, very large tree

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