There aren't enough 'I told you so' moments in my life. That is to say, there are loads but one of my least appealing qualities is a major tendency to gloat on victory so I am not allowed by my family to go anywhere near 'I told you so.' Apparently I pull a particular face when I win. What's not to like?
So I want to put a few bits and pieces on record. Then, when the 'I told you so' moments happen, it will not be me saying it but hopefully you will all recall and say, 'He did tell us so.' The bits and pieces are about my crab apple tree in the front garden. I call it 'my tree' even though there are two of us living here and anyway it belongs to the Diocese of Bath and Wells because, since I gave it a trim last autumn, everyone else has disowned it.
Let's get one thing straight. The tree had grown beyond being an ornamental front garden tree on a suburban estate and had grown to the height of our house, some branches rubbing against our bedroom windows. When it fruited it scattered unimpressive crab apples all over the road and drive for cars and pedestrians to squash. It turned the street into the world's biggest crab-cider (is that a drink?) press. So I was asked to trim it.
After a couple of hours therapeutic sawing and pruning it was reduced to a four foot trunk with five or six thick branches off. It did look like the aftermath of a serious artillery action and, from some angles, appeared to be throwing a V at those walking down the street. But trimmed it was. It will now make an excellent trebuchet platform if we are ever invaded from Wraxall.
'I didn't mean that much,' said Mrs T, ignoring the rule that you can tell a man what to do or how to do it but not both.
'You didn't say how much.'
'It was obvious,'
'Not that obvious.'
'To normal people.'
'It will grow back to a nicely rounded shape.'
Now this hasn't been allowed to lie. Sleeping dogs have been prodded.
'What happened to your plans for the tree?'
'For a nice-shaped round top?'
'It's still winter.'
'Sue told me that crab apple trees are grafted. Once you prune them back there will be no more fruit.'
'It was the fruit we didn't like.'
'You did. We made one batch of crab apple jelly and we still have three jars. It only goes with pork and you're a vegetarian.'
'I'm just saying.'
'Sue says the branches grow from the bottom.'
'There are shoots at the top.
'Only small ones.'
'That's why they're called shoots. They start small then they shoot.'
'You're a compete arse to live with.'
'For being right?'
'For being an arse.'
So let it be heard that my substantially pruned crab apple tree now has some small shoots at the top, which will grow into a nice leafy round, and some larger shoots at the bottom which I will remove.