I recently wrote a post about Ratnaparla and his cow. A few days ago Ratnaparla was back but sadly this time without his bovine companion.
We have been having problems with monkeys on the roof of the main house – they dislodge the tiles as they launch themselves from the roof to the nearby branches and we had a couple of close shaves with tiles falling on to the terrace and narrowly missing people below. With much regret the solution to the problem was to cut back the palms and the trees to form a gap wide enough for the monkeys to be unable to jump.
As well as being an explosives expert, Ratnaparla is also the local tree surgeon. The tools of his trade are a terrifyingly large and razor sharp machete and a loop of old fabric. The latter he slips over his bare feet and uses to grip the bark of the tree he is climbing.
The trees which needed the most cutting back were two very tall coconut palms. The first was successfully defoliated but when Ratnaparla went to climb the second he refused to leave the ground as he declared the trunk rotten and the tree too dangerous to climb because of that. He went on to express his strong concern that that a strong wind could easily cause the palm to fall, and, due to the direction of the prevailing wind the likelyhood was that it would fall on the house. Our only option was to agree to Ratnaparla felling the tree.
Ratnaparla momentarily disappeared off back to his house in the village. I would love to think it was because he had been too long away from his beloved cow but the truth was more prosaic, he needed to get his axe. Once properly equipped he made short work of the felling and the tree was on the ground within 5 minutes.
The first thing Ratnaparla did afterwards was retrieve all the coconuts that had been on the palm. The biggest and best he opened with his machete and presented to me so that I could drink the beautiful, fresh coconut water inside.