I and a long-time friend agree about almost everything – except TREES.
He calls them “giant weeds” and moans every time one falls down and clobbers something – or particularly, someONE.
Meantime, I LOVE ’em. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a tree-HUGGER – their trunks are full of bugs and the softwood ones (like my three Mango trees) have sticky SAP. It’ll take you FOREVER to get it out of your CLOTHES.
But I was never fond of flowers (I don’t HATE them – I just don’t LOVE them) and prefer GREEN things – particularly trees.
However, I agree with m’friend; as with power and freedom – with trees come responsibilities – and since the ’87 Climate Shift (which BEGAN with southern England’s Great Hurricane – and which in turn knocked over many THOUSANDS of them, reducing Sevenoaks to Oneoak) one can no longer take anything for granted.
Just a few months ago, Britain got hit by two MORE of these monsters – one featuring winds up to 165 m.p.h. (264 k.p.h.)
Back in my manor (Thailand) the wind (on the rare occasions there IS any) generally comes from the east – from the South China seas in fact – and I worry that one day, a big blow might bring down my largest tree (in the Front Garden) causing it to SQUASH my CHARIOT (a classic ’94 Mitsu Galant Ultima).
But being softwood, Mangos are more resilient than they look – they BEND in the wind, rather than break.
Nevertheless, I still keep an EYE on it – and the other two in the West Garden – to make sure those bendy trunks have not been compromised. Sadly, others are not so diligent, which gives my friend in the Old Country his problems.
I’m reminded of an incident which occurred to me in the Seventies. At that time, a Spike Milligan joke was popular amongst my group – “Are you Jewish?” “No, a tree fell on me.”
Of course today, said ABSTRACT joke would be called RACIST by knee-jerk PC-ers – but Spike is no longer around to take the flack – and this was the Seventies.
At that time, I was a private hire car driver (a high-end minicab driver) working north-east London. And a rather snooty Jewish woman was sitting in the back when, as we chatted about the news, I mentioned that someone or other had been schlepped off to jail.
She suddenly asked, “Are you Jewish?” – and instinctively I replied, “No, a tree fell on me.”
The thing is, I HAVE my foreskin: the reason I knew the word “schlepped” was I’d picked up a fair bit of Yiddish when I’d worked for my Jewish landlords – and שלעפּן was just ONE of them.
Thus I had no time to THINK when she asked her question and so my answer was sorta knee-jerk, too.
She looked at me sideways (obviously, she wasn’t a Milligan fan) but I was saved from having to explain myself by our arrival at her destination.
I wonder if she ever got the reference?