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Shifting against the heavier limb, Jack could reach a further crop of the summer's growth. The green shoots fell easily under the sheers and he wondered how easily they could take a finger. Occasionally, he would knock a fruit, which would fall with a ‘thonk’ to the earth. There, his Mum would collect and check them for rot. As a child he had been lifted up to pluck the ripe Braeburns. Then as a teenager there had been the fluffy bugs, which he had been instructed to paint with motor oil, before tying a sticky bandage around the trunk to ward off ants. Only in his thirties had he felt confident enough to climb into the crown. Here he could see the whole garden, from the wilting flower bed, to the stubble of moss on the surrounding twigs. Every movement was measured in his balance in those branches. Still the heartwood would be strong. ‘Are you sure you don’t want the lopper?’ Mum offered. ‘I’m fine’ he said. Jack did not like the lopper. It resembled a cruel long-necked bird, it’s spring shot and repaired with a length of chord. Pulling the chord would cause the blades to close clumsy and slow, maiming the wood. ‘I saw Jenny adopted.’ ‘Really?’ His Mum asked, surprised. ‘Yeah, she said they might ask me for a reference, though I never heard anything.’ ‘Even so,’ said Mum ‘Even so.’ said Jack. His phone pinged. The spanish hurricane was over a month away.


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