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Ty Korrigan

French experience...

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I was on holiday in St Omer, Pay du Calais a few weeks ago.

Whilst on my way to fetch the morning baggette I stopped to watch a tree gang of 6 at work dismantling several trees in a front garden.

4 ground crew and 2 climbers. Through the zoom lens of my camera I observed that the only PPE to be used was a pair of trousers and boots on ONE of the climbers.

The other climber had boots and wore jeans.

No visors, helmet, glasses on any of those present and a couple were shirtless!

One climber lit up, smoked away whilst his saw was being fueled below and then flicked his fag at the groundsman fueling the saw.

The chipper was another without modern safety bars.

I watched as the groundsmen chipped away feeding from the front without any PPE.

Now, I can tell you all that I am simply not prepared to work under those conditions.

I don't have to suffer incompetant co-workers, crap tools and poor working practices.


Thats a site I even see here quite often and by some surprising companies who'd you expected to have higher standards!!


I don't blame you for not wanting to work in such conditions:ohmy: although sometimes i think there is satisfaction to be had in going somewhere and trying to impart some knowledge and experience in doing work to a higher and safer standard. There is a reason for everything, there will be a reason you see others working in a way you find incompetent, perhaps they know no better, or perhaps they really couldn't care less about there profession and what they do!



I think your right to try going it alone there could be huge potential for you out there. Also try to get in some of the French freelance climbers, I know of a few exceptional French climbers they are not all bad you'll be able to spot the good ones, use them to help you out on the bigger stuff so you can learn from them to.


Failing that i could always do with a holiday, i'll work for food and board:laugh1:

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I think that is true for any college environment. I remember being on a farm years ago. We had scraped the yard pretty well for the vet to come out to look at a heiffer, and a fresh out of college girl turned up and refused to get out of the van as there was cow s... everywhere. She was used to brand new pressure washed yard and cattle crush etc etc in colege, who hadnt told her that the reality of things was that even on the cleanest farm there is a film of dung over evrything.

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i think that as a student You are required to find out a bit about the industry as you go and prepare your self for the reall world . had i left college expecting to climb ever day , never have to chip and only work on nice , clean safe trees that are easy to climb then i dont think i would have lasted more than a week with the first comany i worked for in devon .


i do feel that colleges do portray a side to tree surgery that just does not happen in the working world , i had a guy form merrist wood come to me for a job about 18 months ago . i thought that as i had been there several years ago and i came out of there and did well for my self then he would be something like it too !!! oh how wrong i was , he was "a climber and did not do the ground work " that was for the rest of you to do even though he was a crap climber !! hence why he did not last long at all and lasted even less time when he refused to climb a stag headed beech and take the dead wood out because it was dangerous !!! WTF ???

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Please can we not let this thread descend into a rant against college education etc...

There is already another thread on this subject.

What I am writing about largely concerns my experiences with a 'shabby employer' than any incompetance or lack of experience on my behalf.

I would also like to add that I am enjying these exchanges very much but I can't seem to add smilies to help convey that I'm not upset/getting the 'ump/seeing the good in all...

How do I add smilies?

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Thanks for this word Elagueur, had a hard time explaining to my better halfs family in France what I do, that might help.


I found this website Elagage des arbres par Olivier. Le métier de grimpeur élagueur, elagage. Les entreprises d'élagage. , quite interesting pictures, words are baffling me a bit.. I might have to get on the case and learn as sounds like she may have landed a job in France, I might be moving over too.

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This is a large firm with many trucks going out, mowing grass, building swimming pools and other landscaping works.

The size of the firm is often in direct inverse proportion to the uality of the work and equipment, even in the UK

There is also a culture of using chainsaws one handed. Climbing saws can be bought in any D.I.Y store and I have even seen them for sale in larger supermarkets.

A 'machismo' (exagerated assertive manliness) culture exists were the use of PPE is seen as... soft?


Excellent! glad to see the french have'nt turned into a bunch of poofs hiding behind bling chainsaw PPE. Nothing like flicking your gitane stub at the groundy refueling to keep them on their toes...As many who know me would confirm, I would probably fit in very well:001_smile::001_rolleyes:

For those interested in some typical rates.

I was paid 10.50E for landscaping, 12.50E for treework with a further 25% for hours over 35.

Talking to a freelance climber, own van and all climbing kit but no chipper.

Day rate around 300/400E

Many landscaping firms here own chippers and get in a climber when required.

They just supply the groundstaff.


Time for a tea!


Sounds like good Rates. As some have already said, dont take any of these posts to harshly. I think that you are displaying a lot of balls, both in undertaking this particular proffesion (affliction?) and doing it in a foreign country.

Keep up the good work...


Failing that i could always do with a holiday, i'll work for food and board:laugh1:

Ditto! Vive la France!

Edited by Mr Ed

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Heyyyyy...homoerotic comment not appreciated!:glare::wink:


“Oui, j’aime beaucoup le cafê, le cafê noir and très fort; très choud… ( inhales ) avec une cuillère dedans… ( mocking sound ) Ah, le virage de la cuillère; le virage des poitrines… Je mets la cuillère dans la bouche…”

Edited by Mr Ed

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