Property: Get ready for mutually assured tree planting

The LAS sees the tree not as an offensive weapon of mass destruction but as a deterrent
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The Independent Online
I HAVE been inundated with demands for further information on the neighbour-deterrent capabilities of the Lelandii Appreciation Society. This is a recently formed body which is designed to persuade recently arrived but socially incorrect neighbours that it would be better to fix their abode elsewhere.

I must stress at the outset that the LAS is not an organisation that promotes the spread of these fast growing, giant trees. The Lelandii, which allow you to create the equivalent of a Brazilian rain forest in your back garden in about a week, is a particularly anti-social tree. I have seen the misery inflicted upon those forced to live in its shadow and the LAS has no intention of encouraging an outbreak of spontaneous plantation.

The LAS is not interested in the tree as an offensive weapon of mass destruction but as a deterrent.

Observers of the race, earlier this century, towards nuclear supremacy will be familiar with the deterrent argument. It went along the lines that the reason for filling your silos with Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles was not in readiness to incinerate the opposition but merely to persuade them not to get their retaliation in first.

So too with the Lelandii. It is not a tree to be used in anger. It is a deterrent, not a weapon of mass destruction.

The reason I have formed the LAS is to capitalise on the tree's deterrent properties. It is a means of persuading new and disruptive arrivals in the neighbourhood to think again about their main residence of choice.

I have recently been cursed, as I explained last week, with two new neighbours whose habits and habitat are tending towards the disagreeable. My life would become altogether more acceptable if they were to take up their furniture and walk somewhere a long way away.

I have no intention of mounting a campaign of hostility against them. Not for me the Superglued key holes and self igniting dustbins. No vandalism, graffiti or obscene, late-night telephone calls. That would be petty, small-minded and offensive.

Much better, I think, to take a more cerebral approach and draw on the services of the LAS. All I do here is push a leaflet through my new neighbours' letter boxes explaining the virtues of these much misunderstood trees. They are flexible, robust and faster moving than your average District Line train. They offer security, protection and provide that large-scale affinity with nature which is so often absent from suburbia.

The leaflet goes on to point out that the adjoining houses (that is, those with north-facing rather than south-facing grass) are shortly planning to celebrate the Lelandii season by a commemorative planting. It invites the recipient to join the local community's thanksgiving by adding a row of Lelandii in his or her own back garden.

Scale drawings of just how tall the trees will become in a matter of weeks demonstrate quite lucidly what they are about to receive. Who needs a Greenland winter when you have a row of looming Lelandii next door?

I think my new neighbours will begin to have second thoughts about the attractions of the area and will be looking to move within a matter of days.

The leaflets go out next week. My report from another part of the forest will follow.