HARD YAKKA: Unlike dad, Isaac Gale can get through a stack of wood without causing any long-term injuries.
HARD YAKKA: Unlike dad, Isaac Gale can get through a stack of wood without causing any long-term injuries. Andrew Gale

Creepy crawlies and acute pains

I'M sitting here in a bit of pain with a sore back.

It's only temporary though.

Couple of days of ibuprofen and a bit of lying down should sort it out.

Injury wise, I've been pretty lucky. Apart from a few sports injuries I've been able to keep my body hanging together pretty well.

Look, I'll admit that I'm part of the 74% of people who are overweight or obese as reported in the Daily News last week but I can tell you it's probably more to do with my love of burgers, pizza and beer, than a lack of exercise and activity.

I still mow my own lawn, cut my own firewood and fence posts, dig post holes, work on cars, strain fences and so on.

Tell you what though, when you hurt yourself it certainly gives you an appreciation for being able to get up and about.

I have empathy for anyone with chronic pain or a health condition that restricts their mobility.

I've seen the suffering of people with bad backs and it certainly makes me try to be careful.

The doctor says that being in the "74%” will increase my chances of suffering future injuries so I'd better do something about it. One day.

Now, a warning. If you are squeamish about creepy crawlies, maybe you shouldn't read on.

A great friend of mine asked me to come and chop up a log that had fallen in his cattle yards.

I was happy to help.

See, he's older than me and he is no longer very mobile due to a life of hard slog and toil.

The type of stuff I only do for exercise and a bit of fun, not every day to keep the farm going and so on.

During winter, the chainsaws I own get a fair bit of work.

It takes quite a few loads of wood to keep a century-old Queenslander with 12-foot ceilings liveable in winter, particularly when the house is populated with children with an aversion to shutting doors behind them.

In the summer though, the saws stay in the shed apart from maybe a pruning job or a fallen limb to attend to.

One of the reasons I don't like to cut too much wood in the summer is the heat, and the other reason is creepy crawlies.

I know they are still about in the winter, they just don't move as quickly.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not overly worried about them. If there's a spider in the house, or a snake in the yard, I'll deal with it.

I just don't like the way they like to leap out and surprise you when you are doing something else.

So back to the "incident”.

As soon as I started to cut this log into blocks a medium-sized huntsman spider ran out from under the bark. Not unexpected, I could cope with that.

Pretty soon it was joined by about 50 of its siblings and the log was then covered with small hairy eight-legged monsters all running for their lives.

I still wasn't particularly worried, after all I was the one with the buzzing saw. I just didn't want them running up my arms and onto my face or anything nasty like that.

But then it happened. Out of the corner of my eye I saw it. The long thin reptile. Earthy brown tones, scaly, as thick as a child's limb and coming my way.

Uh oh!

Now normally, when our eyes see something, they pass this information on to the thinking and analysing part of the brain. It then processes the information and decides on a few options of "what to do next”.

The decision-making part of the brain then weighs the pros and cons of each course of action and decides to do one of them.

The brain then sends all the required commands to the arms, legs etc to execute the chosen action.

In a "stress” situation, like seeing a cranky looking snake, the eyes make an executive decision, bypass all the protocols and brain "bureaucracy” and just tell the legs to get moving.

When you are bending forward, chainsawing, and you jump backwards and you are a member of the 74%, the chances of "sticking the landing” are quite low.

There was some pain. The sort of pain that says "hi Andrew, I'll be staying for a while”.

My eyes never left my buddy "Joe Blake”.

He emerged further from the log and then ran up a nearby tree. Courtesy of his four little wind-milling legs.

Yep, legs.


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