by Cathy Gatland in Johannesburg, South Africa
I had the rare opportunity this week to stand, unobserved, in the warmth of my own kitchen and sketch the full day's activities of a team of tree fellers that came to our house to remove a huge old eucalyptus that has been leaning ever more worryingly towards our neighbour's car park.
I got to appreciate and wonder at the strength, agility and endurance of these guys as they swung high up into the branches (without safety harnesses!) and systematically work their way down, taking section after section of the tree away. Wielding the chainsaw in one hand or the other - only both when they could get a good grip with legs alone, and sometimes being flung around as weight was released - two expert cutters took turns to go up and lop off segments while the rest of the team held ropes, guided falling limbs and carried them to the truck. I was tired after a full day of sketching them, I can only imagine how exhausted they must be after what I suppose is just another day at the office!