Monday, March 31, 2008
The Scottish are famous for their Highland Games, amongst other things – such as drinking strong beverages in women’s clothing. One of the disciplines in the Highland Games is the ‘Caber toss’, or throwing a long wooden pole as far as you can without having it land on your own head.
I’ve been trying out this sport myself lately, but of course wooden poles are a bit wimpy for a strong Belgian lad like me. No, I prefer to hoist a concrete pole in the air. One that has one end buried five feet in the ground.
There were five of these concrete poles in our backyard, in fact they really were there to hold up the washing line. It must have been the sturdiest washing line in the world: each pole measures up to 12 ft and ways about 150 kg. Add to that about 27 cubic feet of concrete to set in the ground. With five to six iron bars in each post, that washing line could withstand a nuclear war in its day.
In my initial optimism, I wanted to wiggle them around a bit (I didn’t know about the concrete foot) and lift them out of the ground. In fact I did manage that with the first one, which didn’t have that much concrete. I even managed to break it in two with my bare hands – I really don’t know my own strength. Fortunately for me, I didn’t catch me in its fall because it would probably have killed so. It landed on a plastic box and crumbled it to little pieces.
The next two were even harder. I had to dig a big hole next to each post, four to five feet deep. Lifting them out still was impossible, let alone doing a caber toss. I brought out my brand new pneumatic drill to chip away the concrete block at the bottom and break each post in three pieces. Even then, I was barely able to lift the individual pieces, although I did caber toss them – making big dents in our lawn and ripping parts out of the hedge. Collateral damage, but it was satisfying to see those bastards plummet to their death.