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What a week! clearing storm damage across Kent & South East London

9th November 2013

The last two weeks have gone by in a blur for me since the St Jude day storm wreaked havoc here in the South East. Although the damage it caused was nothing like on the scale of 1987, we are still clearing up major storm damage almost two weeks later and sadly a number of people lost their lives to the storm, including the tragic case of a 17 year old girl not far from us in Hever.

Through that Sunday night, I kept waking every few hours but the wind didn’t seem too bad. When I finally got up at 5am however it was a different story and the sound as it roared through the Beech tree in my front garden had me more than a little concerned.
With first light, I could see both the Willow and Sycamore in my back garden had shed boughs but today they would have to wait. On the way to our yard I saw a number of trees down and with most of the guys having to find alternative routes in to work for the same reason, I felt confident we would be busy and justify my decision the previous Friday to reschedule Monday & Tuesdays planned work to be on call for emergencies. Strangely though, the first few hours of the day were very subdued and quiet. By 10am, having only attended one emergency call to an uprooted Robinia tree I was contemplating going back to the schools work originally scheduled.

With hindsight I guess it took a while for managers to get into work and then start to get organised because once the phone started ringing, it did not let up all day. As the week went on, it just seemed to build and probably peaked around Wednesday by which point I was starting to feel the pressure! Michelle, our office administrator was on holiday so I had all calls diverted to my mobile and for those first few days, trying to juggle doing some actual tree work, organising everybody and answering the incessant phone was a hellish task. No sooner would I put the phone down and start writing something down, than it would ring again or two new voicemails would pop up, all needing an urgent call back. All of a sudden, I realised just how many good clients we actually have, from homeowners to schools and Local authorities, from property managers to care homes and churches. All of those personal relationships built up over time, where I have become “their tree man” are put to the test when they all phone you at once saying “Jamie, we need you, when can you get here?!”

Out from first light, we were not only helping all those clients mentioned above but had one team solely dedicated to clearing roads for Kent Highway Services. We were assigned our own incident response unit who followed us round dealing with traffic management while we ploughed through the work. Most evenings I was out with the guys working under floodlights until 8 or 9pm after which I would head into the office to organise paperwork and make final phone calls. It was a tiring and at times stressful week but the guys seemed to thrive on the excitement of it all and I was impressed with the way they really pulled together to get all the work done so we did not let down a single client.
This week has been easier with the most urgent work already dealt with, but we have still been on ‘clear up’ all week and there is much more in the diary. Jay and Marcus are out today finishing the last job for this week, an 80ft Lombardy Poplar in Erith that collapsed across a number of gardens, destroying the fences and sheds below. I am out quoting all day and then looking forward to a rest tomorrow.

In other news…
Our new Isuzu truck is almost finished at the body builders and I will be going down to sign it off next week. It then has to be checked by VOSA before we can take delivery of it so is still a few weeks away yet.

National Tree Week is approaching again, this year running from 23rd November to 1st December. This annual event which has been running since 1975 sees community groups, charities and individuals across the country roll up their sleeves to plant an estimated one million new trees.    Each year, we donate and plant a number of specimen trees to local organisations, landowners and charities so if you have the space and are interesting in receiving a free, professionally planted tree, do get in touch.

Finally, while clearing a fallen Ash tree for Hartley Parish Council on Thursday, I received this wonderful email from a neighbouring resident. For me this perfectly sums up what it is we strive to achieve here here at Trojan Tree care, in providing our clients with a quality of service that really sets us apart from so many of our competitors.

“Dear sir
Today your employees Jack and Alfie dealt with a tree across the road from us (commissioned by Hartley Parish Council) and I have to tell you how impressed I was with their work and attitude. They were both very polite and knowledgeable and I have yet to come across workers who are so tidy. Brilliant job. I will need some trees dealt with next year and on the strength of Jack and Alfie’s performance today will certainly be contacting you for a quote.
A### Philpott”

A few pictures below from last week.
Jamie Saunders

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