Some 30-odd years ago, Mrs Hextol and I took a notion that the rear garden of Hextol Towers would be considerably enhanced by the addition of a few trees to mark the boundary between us and our next door neighbours.

I dug half a dozen little holes and inserted six wispy little conifer wands – which soon had to planted again because the dog took great delight in pulling them up again.

We pretty much left them to their own devices for years, but like Topsy, they soon growed and growed to such an extent that a step ladder was eventually required so I could stop them poking a hole in the bright blue sky.

In recent years, it has been noted that their presence was making a significant contribution to our patio sliding inexorably down the hill into next door’s garden.

“Those trees will have to go,” said Mrs Hextol on many occasions as we sat in the garden during the endless days of lockdown, but I pointed to the baby birds frolicking in the bird bath, and said: “Surely you don’t want to make those poor creatures homeless?”

But little birds grow up, and finally last week, I was obliged to agree that in order to shore up the garden, the trees would have to be removed.

I took professional advice on what tree removal, fence replacement and landscaping might cost, and blanched at the large number of noughts on the figures quoted.

“We’ll do it ourselves,” we decided, much to the incredulity of our family, who said in unison: “It’s a big job even for young people who know what they are doing, let alone a couple of old codgers like you!”

Undeterred, I took up my trusty loppers and bush saw, and started attacking the first and largest of the towering trees, soon accumulating a sizable heap of greenery – and then realised that I had no way of getting rid of it.

I had to hot foot it to Rochester to borrow three vast dumpy bags, which smelled suspiciously of mice, but which were perfect for the job.

The plan was to take the full bags to the tip at Hexham, with the seats down in the back of my decrepit horsey car.

However, the battery was flat, so a jump start was required from the good car.

The leads wouldn’t quite reach, so I had to manoeuvre the car to within inches of the jalopy to establish contact.

The vehicles were then so close I couldn’t get in the jalopy’s driver’s door and had to clamber in via the passenger seat – a tricky task for a stout and elderly chap like me.

We did get it started though, and I decided to give it a short run to boost the battery a bit.

I hadn’t gone far when I became aware of a screeching and yowling noise even more strident than the protests the car usually makes.

The racket continued even when I brought the car to a halt – and it was then I realised I had caught the temperamental car radio with my foot when clambering through and the noise was coming from somewhere near Hilversum

I was only about halfway up the first tree when I had created more than enough detritus to fill the first bag, and I then had to get it out of the garden and up to the garage.

Filling the bag was no problem, but getting it out of the garden was more of a challenge.

It eventually squeezed through the gate, bringing a fencing rail with it, and I then shoehorned it into the back of the car.

I got it in, but had to drive to Hexham with my nose pressed up against the windscreen, which made tackling the A69 roadworks something of a challenge.

Getting the dumpy bag out at the tip was a piece of cake, and it took only a couple of minutes to transfer the contents to a large skip.

The tip staff looked a little curious when I drove out again - I think they thought I would be leaving the car.

The car smells much sweeter now and I no longer need to show my credentials when visiting the tip.

I spent the week lopping away at the trees, before my nephew and then number one son arrived with chain saws to complete the job.

I have even been promised a trailer to take the rest the rest of the debris away!