I don't think I've ever been so angry for so long.
Being threatened with legal action over an issue thought dealt with came as a bit of a shock - but it is a neighbourhood association on the other side of the fence.
The tree was beautiful, it was strong and had, for twenty years, withstood gale force winds with barely a murmur. It wasn't yet full grown when the president of the NA complained about leaves marring the driveway to the townhouses. That was in March. I spoke with one of the residents who basically said, 'pshaw, don't worry about it. We have a gardener who can sweep them up.' Silly me for taking her at her word.
I should also note that I told the president why we didn't want to take the tree down: it absorbs a hell of a lot of water from run-off through our backyard; the natural drainage channel was changed when the bloody 'houses were built - the local council declined to accept responsibility. It gives us shade from the ferocious Summer sun and it was a gift from a now deceased friend.
Then last month we get a letter: take the tree down or we'll see you in court. Why? Because the roots of the tree allegedly bent the fence and are undermining the driveway. The fence was built crooked and there's no evidence of warping in the driveway. Two points I made clear in replying to the lawyers' laughable letter:
...we wish to remain on good terms with our neighbours and seek your urgent co-operation so that this matter can be settled in a fair and acceptable way to all concerned.
Yes, a direct quote. How can it be 'fair' and 'acceptable' and remain on 'good terms' when the NA says 'take it down or we'll sue' while disregarding our arguments? Worse, this is all about the president and her demands. Knowing all the residents, they are condemned by their indifference to the issue.
So we got a final notice: you have 21 days or we're going to court. Much as I would have liked to stare them down across a courtroom, the worry had a detrimental affect on the elderly parent's health.
The tree is no more, taken down yesterday and turned into woodchips. And as upsetting as all this has been, vengeance shall be ours.
We're going to plant three lovely deciduous silver birches. In a few years, the president can watch the leaves change to gorgeous autumnal colours - and then pile up on her doorstep. Every. Damned. Year.