Thursday 16 February 2023

In praise of big trees

Photos from a glorious afternoon dog walk with the middle boy on his birthday the other day. 17 no less. He keeps muttering things about motorbikes. I pretend I haven't heard.

We were driving home the other day and we spotted a car that someone had driven actually into the front door of a house on a neighbouring road. The house was on the corner so I'm guessing someone went around it a little too fast. Very annoying for the homeowner who had no use of their front door for several days until it was removed. When we got home we found a brown envelope on the mat containing the middle boy's provisional driving licence.

Locally, it seems to be all about trees and hacking things back at the moment. A large number of mature trees have been removed, many of them ash trees with ash die-back I think. A few saplings have been planted to replace them. Fair enough. But the local authority is absolutely obsessed with cutting back hedgerows to almost nothing which is a bit rubbish. I just wrote, 'I am in a permanent fury' and then deleted it. Wouldn't want you to think I am all cross all of the time, but it does REALLY bother me.

Out of the window I can see a wonderful tree. Pictures below.

I always look at it when I get up to stretch and procrastinate. It's lovely and so many different species of birds use it, including for roosting at night and for nesting. There was another one, but it has been removed. I live in fear of this one going as well. But for now it is there, in all its glory. It amazes me how much habitat a single tree provides. It only takes up a few square feet on the ground, but in the air, a whole world of wildlife. Absolutely wonderful. 

Over the past two or three days the frogs have started getting out and about again. The littlest boy and I saw three on the evening dog walk alone today. Sadly, they are struggling to find garden ponds these days. I think about putting one in the front garden sometimes, but then I would worry about the traffic if it attracted frogs. 

I dragged the dog (literally) to the vet the other day. Have you ever wondered why the floor at the vet's is so shiny? It's all the cockapoos being slid along the lino. He didn't seem quite himself and the vets do love to get stuck into tests and things. He was squeezed and prodded and as usual refused to show anyone his gums. I provided a (very small) urine sample which they said they would send off for analysis.

After I chased them up a few days later, they rang me back with a conversation that started with, 'Unfortunately, ...' My heart actually skipped a beat. In fact, the unfortunate thing was that they had failed to send off the urine sample which was now no longer fresh and they wanted another one. It was quite a good tactic because after the initial shock of thinking that he had been diagnosed with something dreadful I was happy as a clam that it was just an administrative snafu. So we went back out on the streets with our pot. It didn't go quite as well the second time to be honest. I didn't really want to go down to the bus stop and have an audience of 15, so we went somewhere else, and the dog wasn't keen about the pot and then there was some leakage in the bag and all in all it was a bit disappointing. Anyway, all seems well and I was promised some sort of small refund because of the failure, which was a surprise.

The two younger urchins had another ski lesson the other day. The middle boy slalomed past some little people at an odd angle so as not to canon into them and ended up hurtling into the netting at the end of the ski run, handily placed to stop skiers from hurtling off the end and into the car park 30 feet below. Both of his skis shot through the netting and he was briefly wedged, which the littlest boy quite enjoyed. At some stage I shall have to buy them all of the things on the list of clothing. I hadn't quite appreciated how much is involved in skiing when I blithely signed the initial form. 

All good at your end? CJ xx


  1. I understand your anguish with regards to the trees. So many have been cut down by the Railway and council near us. I saddens me that the wildlife has to go elsewhere.

  2. My grandson had some brief skiing lessons at school. The results were quite spectacular, they involved being lifted bodily by the teacher out of a fence where the skis had got stuck etc. etc. The school after a short while ceased wth the lessons! JR Winnipeg

  3. I hate to see trees chopped down. The house 2 doors down from us was sold recently and what was once a beautiful garden , full of mature trees, shrubs and hedges, has been reduced to ground zero to make way for a ridiculously huge and hideous extension. I mourn the loss of the spectacular maple in particular.
    I've given up on expecting people to do their jobs competently. R had to fill in a GP blood pressure sheet recently, and on returning home I warned him that the form would undoubtedly be lost and that he should give it a week and get in touch to chase it up if he hadn't heard anything. He followed it up and they had indeed lost it. Luckily, he hadn't just assumed that no news was good news and had a stroke. I hope Bertie is feeling perkier now and doesn't have to do more lino polishing!
    Good luck with the driving / skiing lessons. xx

  4. There are strict rules in farming, (I am a lifelong 74 year old working lady farmer) as to dates and dimensions about hedgcutting. A £5,000+ fine is levied if a hedge is removed without permission…we keep ours (24 miles of) at a good 6 to 8 feet, and have planted more than 4,000 trees in the last few years. We cut a third of these hedges each winter which allows more cover and berries for feeding birds. Councils cut their hedges very short ☹️and incur no fine, to save money, so they don’t have to cut the hedges back annually, thus flouting the rules. They make their own rules. They are not farming rules. With air pollution being very much in the media at present, trees and hedges are the lungs of towns and cities. Rant over!!
    Ahh, those were the days when our children were young!😉

  5. I get VERY angry if I see any trees being cut down especially for yet more flats. I totally feel your angst and wish fervently that your tree stays permanently. As you rightly say they house so many species.
    Good news here is that they are planting miles and miles of new hedgerow along fields. Fingers crossed it’s not too late.
    Smiling about the vets visit and fingers crossed there’s nothing major wrong. As for skiing well I’d try and find a friend who could lend you stuff :). Good luck with the provisional license . B x

  6. A mature oak tree provides a habitat for literally hundreds of species of flora and fauna. I understand your anger when it comes to cutting down trees and decimating hedgerows. Some years ago on my way to work I admired a ‘roadside nature reserve’ which boasted a carpet of bluebells. On my way home someone had mown the grass along with the bluebells. I was furious and fired off an email to the council.

    1. Don’t know why my comments are coming as anonymous Sue Garrett

  7. An enjoyable post and good pictures as always. Shame about the ash trees, and you can guess how I feel about the way many councils cut back hedgerows.
    Bertie's antics made me smile and I'm glad to see that he's okay.
    The skiing lesson sounds like it was rather fraught.
    All okay here thanks. Take care. xx

  8. I felt my heart sink as I was reading about the vets phone call, I am glad he is not terribly unwell. Procrastination is my current favourite pass time... I spend long moments gazing out of the window into the garden. My view is not as beautiful as yours although there is a huge Scot pine in my neighbours garden, which I can see if I twist my neck a bit. It is gorgeous and full of creatures but I know the people living at the back hate it because it blocks all the light out in their living rooms. My children too skiing lessons for a while and loved it. I could ski before I could cycle... this being a Swiss national sport. Never really loved it though and particularly hated the frothy ovaltine with a thick skin we were served for breakfast during our compulsory (!) annual school ski camps. I wonder if they still make children go on those camps now. I am quite possibly the only Swiss with a dislike for skiing. I hope your littlests ego is not too bruised after being stuck in the netting. I feel guilty about a wee giggle that escaped me when reading this. I found some skiing clothes the other day but I think they would be too small for even your youngest now. Have a wonderful weekend xx

  9. They’re chopping down ash trees all around here but also replanting so at least in time things won’t look so brutal.
    I had one go on a dry ski slope. Never again. I could barely walk for days afterwards 😊
    Poor Bertie, the indignity of it all. I bet he looked really pathetically at the vet like mine does, then she hides behind me. I hope he’s feeling better.
    We’re very lucky and back onto woods, the variety of wildlife is wonderful, from woodpeckers to muntjac and badges to goldfinches.
    Good luck with the learner driver- I would be in the boot with a blanket over my head and a bottle of gin! Thankfully my husband accompanied our two.
    Have a lovely day x

  10. Goodness....motorbikes? Yikes! Happy birthday to the middle boy, how quickly they are growing up. I too hate seeing everything being cut back to within an inch of it's life. Here's to your tree living to a grand old age. I was laughing re your second urine sample, glad all is well

  11. I feel as you do about trees. On several occasions I've cried when a grand old neighborhood tree was cut down for no apparent reason. It leaves such a hole in the sky. A few years ago a large maple was taken down next door, and I could see the birds who had nested/roosted in it sitting on the house roof wondering what was going on. It was heartbreaking. Your wonderful-tree-out-the-window is lovely, especially with the sunrise (or sunset?) caught in its branches. Long may it stand!

    Best wishes for good results from the vet, and for all the driving and skiing adventures to come.

  12. I admire you and at the same time I am jealous about how perfectly you guys are enjoying it. I have always wanted to help my father in farming but I never got a chance. The pictures you have shared helps to relate, thank you.

  13. Im not dure if you can help but I have followed your blog along with a few others for a couple of years. However, my feed was usually accessed through a weekly update which was sent by email. I have no idea why, but this has stopped. Is Bloglovin still a thing ?