I’ve known many Steves in my time. To be fair, almost all of them musicians.

(Twenty years ago today, I could have put a jaw-droppingly good band together, using nothing but Steves. But then I wouldn’t have been in it.)

I don’t know if my new friend, Steve, plays anything. I do know he’s a Michelin-star chef. And he knows exactly what to do with a chainsaw.

SAFETY WARNING BY WAY OF A(N APPARENTLY TRUE) STORY: This guy asked this other guy for a quote to cut down this tree. He was quoted, say, €200. “Bloody hell,” this guy says. “You can buy a chainsaw for that!” A short time later, this article appeared in the local newspaper. This guy had died. Severed an artery in his leg. With a (presumably €200) chainsaw.

Not in this lifetime do I want to find myself floating away from my body thinking: “Well that was stupid.” Which is how I found myself spending a very wet afternoon with Steve last week, learning how to live with yet another seriously dangerous piece of farm machinery.

The rules of chainsaw use are fairly simple:
o Wear chainsaw trousers.
o And steel toe-capped boots.
o And a helmet.
o And gloves.
o Stop when you’re tired.
o And never use a chainsaw when you’re alone.

Steve told me that last one as he dropped me off at the end of the day. I thought he was kidding. After all, I now know how to use a chainsaw. But he added: “Someone needs to be able to use a phone.”

By way of a thank you for saving me from possible injury or death (especially as I’m uninsured), here’s a link to Steve’s website. He’s running gourmet cookery courses this summer from nearby Beaumont’s Moulin de la Ville. Very exclusive. So don’t tell anyone.

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