When we bought our house just over four years ago, there were two dead trees in the back garden. Just before James' first birthday, the smaller one down the back fell over. Daddy and my father-in-law came with a saw and chainsaw to cut it up, and Daddy took the wood for their pot-belly stove. While they had everything out, they turned their attention to the other dead tree; much taller (nearing 20m) and closer to the house. With a lot of effort, they got ropes over the branches, and pulled a few off, before getting the rope stuck over a branch that just wasn't ready to come down. So the rope remained, and a few game people had a swing at James' first birthday party - even two at a time! At 4.45 this morning, the tree decided it was ready to come down. NOW! It came down with rather a crash, and I'm thankful that we were all inside, and that it didn't fall on the house. It wasn't windy, and the practically non-existent roots which came up with it show how little was holding it upright for the last few years. At least it can't fall any further now! The only casualties were an ugly birdbath, odd branches from other trees, bushes and roses in the garden, and James' climbing frame, which is going to need replacing! Given we could have had a gaping hole in our roof, and a destroyed verandah and rainwater tank, that's ok.
I'm also rather glad that my parents weren't coming to deliver the new swingset and slide they've bought James and Eleanor until this weekend; it might've been in the firing line. As it is, they're coming up to see about removing this tree first.