With the date of our move getting ever closer, and the smallholding course over and done with, the next thing on the agenda is my chainsaw course. The start date arrives and after a few derogatory comments from my dearest friends (who needs enemies eh?) off i go with my rucksack, books and a packed lunch, for my first day at school for a very long time. The venue a local aggricultural college, not too far away so ideal. I arrive and make my way to the reception area and meet the other two people who are on the course, the instructor arrives and we head down to the classroom. Brief introductions and off we go.
First on the course plan is the risk assessment, Ive done thousands of these, when running the football courses, so that all seems well and good, not too much different, apart from the saftey equipment, which is only to be expected, mind you though, the helmet, ear protectors and trousers and boots would have probably helped to protect me from more than half of the children I taught football.
After lunch we eventually get our hands on the chainsaw, not allowed to start them yet though, general maintainance and checks before we can do that. So chain off, bar off, clutch cover off, check the bearings, check the clutch plates and springs, and then start to put everything back together, checking all parts for wear and tear, all the reasons for damage are caused by either, poor maintainance or quite simply they wear out, either way, you replace them before an accident happens. The stupidity of the operator, poor maintainance and failing to ensure safe working proceedures equals accident, and when using a chainsaw the accident is very rarely minor.
With fifteen minutes of the day left, safety wear on, prestart checks completed, and we are allowed our first attempt at starting the chainsaw, decompression button in, full choke, and a pull of the starter cord, a cough and splutter, turn to half choke, decompression button in a pull on the starter again, and the beast fires into life, a blip of the throttle to take the choke off and then a run through of the precutting checks, saw off and then home time BOOOOOOO!! didn't even get chance to make a cut, but at least I didn't end up with any myself.
Day 2: we start by stripping the saws down again, to see what we have remembered, all the time being asked questions about the proceedure, and the health and safety side of things, and then shown a couple of extra things, like how to remove and clean the air filter and check then spark plug, once everythings back together, we head outside all the usual checks and then the first demonstration of how to crosscut wood. The rest of the day is spent learning all the different types of cuts, how to take tension out of the wood, and how to bore holes to make joints. the end of the day is fast approaching, so back into the class room, a refresher of the day, and we are given the time for our tests.
Having read through the course work a fair few times, and having been tested by Janice, I head off to take the test in a fairly confident but nervous mood, a couple of hours later, all done and dusted, and my certificate gained, brilliant another step closer, and another day closer to our move, the next major thing will be the move unless we can find so more courses, who knows?