Tuesday, 21 October 2008

A grand day out

This morning I made a couple of site visits to look at trees located at desirable residences in the Cotswolds. Autumn is gaining momentum and the leaf colours in the bright sunshine and morning mists were intense. Sometimes I lose perspective of the fact that I make decisions about trees in an area of outstanding natural beauty for a living. It was a memorable morning, but unfortunately I didn't take any photographs except of two Robinias outside the public toilets at Bibury.

Rachel has a monster bug and she called me up at work to say that she was really ill, so I came home to spend the rest of the day looking after the boys so that she could recoup. I gave them some lunch

and then loaded them up into the car and took them up to Crickley Hill which is an old neolithic fort on the Cotswold escarpment with vast views over the landscape to the west. It was possible to make out the Brecon Beacons beyond May Hill with its distinctive tree clump. We took a stoll out to the 'nose' reading and promptly failing to memorise the information boards along the way. It was a beautiful day - clear and bright with a cold wind. A white glider, maybe from Stroud, worked its way over the thermals and a kestrel hunted, windhovering and diving down to the tussock grass. The boys looked angelic with the sun on their soft faces as they slept. I lay down on the grass beside the buggy and listened to the sounds of the day. It was very restful, the natural sound of the wind above the constant background noise of the bypass in the valley below. We took a walk through The Scrubs, an area of 300 year old woodland, admired the monilithed standing deadwood and the carpet of scrunchy orange leaves on the floor.

Sunday, 12 October 2008


We recently spent a week family holidaying in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, staying in a many-layered, tall and thin house overlooking the harbour. The views out across the sea were uninterrupted (as an estate agent might say) and the constant presence of the sea and the beach being exposed and covered by the tides will be one of the lasting memories for me. We were staying with Mum and Dad, who had rented the house and we were joined by brother Tim and Jo for a couple of days.

Tenby has a charming combination of heritage, style and tack which becomes more apparant during the off season. Apparantly it is the hen party capital of the country. Walking around on the build up to an evening you could sense the collective mood swinging towards boozing with intent. But it seemed fairly good natured.

We visited a National Trust garden further up the coast and saw the tallest Crypromeria japonica in the country.

Sadly the week was affected by colds and worries about the boys' health. Rachel and Sam spent the night in Haverfordwest hospital because of Sam's breath rate and I had a nasty chesty cough which left me feeling wiped out for most of the time.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Man flu, baby photos and a plane tree

The onset of the first cold of the winter seems likely and I am determined to take it like a man. Losing your voice is novel turning to fun as the gravel in the throat begins to rise. There is a macabre fascination with the solidity and colour of sputum and secret exitement about being ill enough to justify a sickie whilst being compus mentus enough to indulge in a day of 'cash in the attic' and 'homes under the hammer'. But all this is offset against the ill bit, the pressure in the temples and the angry inflammation at the back of your throat. I'm sooo illl......

Ben and Sam were put on show at work today in the form of a studio photo that Rach got for free through some deal. Reactions from the colleagues was varied and ranged from the usual comments about cuteness and asking which one was which, to comparisons with a fruit pastel lolly - pretty accurate really, there is a kind of Glorious Technicolor aspect to it.

Judgement day for a tree draws nearer. The lot of a tree officer....


Just checked the Almosts' website and I did ok in the Woodchester Park race coming in 19th in just under an hour. The running has been slipping recently due to recovering from the SW coast path trip as well as 'le grippe'.