I arrived in Queensland just in time for the final day of the Royal Brisbane Show. You’ll read in the book a bit of what made this delightful, but you might wonder how wood chopping would have been interesting. I wandered in simply because I was trying to see absolutely everything the show had to offer. I stayed because it turned out to be fabulously exciting.
There was a surprising range of competitions, including pairs chopping, chopping while standing on the log, and one particularly remarkable event where competitors had to chop a niche into an upright tree trunk, wedge a board into the niche, jump up onto the board, and stand on it while they chopped the next niche, until they reached the top, where there was a log they had to chop in half. Of course, originally, this skill would have been important in felling particularly tall trees. You’d have to climb half way up the tree and chop so that the top half fell first. Then you could climb down and chop till the bottom half fell.
Now, I’m not going to be traveling the world looking for wood cutting events, but seeing anyone do something exceedingly well can be a joy—and these guys could chop exceedingly well, and with unbelievable speed. It gave me a new appreciation for lumberjacks the world over.