Tag Archives: trees

Another Day Away

We stayed in Skipton last night and spent the day doing some Family History photography.  The day was bright in patches, but by the middle of the afternoon, when we were at Clitheroe Castle, it was rather dark.

The trees in the main photo were an early find, while the sun was managing to break through.

The others are slightly less than sharp, but seemed too good not to use. Julia spotted the squirrel going through the bins as we left the castle.

There will be more on this trip later, but first I want to stick my feet up and have a cup of tea.

The Leaves of Clumber Park

The woods have really pinged into life since the frost and we are finally seeing some good autumn colour. My camera, of course, is doing its best to take the colour back out. I really don’t know what goes through the minds of camera designers, but they really seem to hate colour.

I first noticed this when taking a sunset with my old camera. A deep red, cloud-flecked sky behind Sandal Castle became a pale pink sky with pale grey wisps.

In the old days of film you used to buy Kodak for restrained colour or Fuji if you wanted something brighter. These days, with my camera at least, you can get the same effect from selecting “Scene” mode. I selected the “Cuisine” option, which brightens all the colours. It’s meant for taking pictures of food but it seems to work for autumn leaves too. Some, like the oak leaves didn’t need help. With others I forgot to use the setting. It did help with the landscapes but even with this help the colours in the photographs are more restrained than they were in real life.

Julia had a Safeguarding Course at Worksop today so it seemed like a good time to visit Clumber Park. It’s the home of an 87 acre lake and the longest Lime Tree Avenue in Europe. It was planted in 1840 and is 2 miles long with 1,296 common limes.

At the end of the lake is a shallow section with a number of tree stumps and drowned trees. These date from the 1980s when subsidence from coal workings dropped the level of the ground. The new low-lying areas filled up and the trees dies. A few still stand to provide perches for cormorants and gulls.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Drowned tree at Clumber Park

I read a haiku today, by coincidence. I can’t remember it, but it was about how maple leaves are at their best just before they fall. I wish the same could be said for me.

In Japanese they have the word koyo – autumn foliage.

RIP 8,715 trees

We’ve just had a letter from our electricity supplier telling us how we could have saved money by signing up to a fixed-price deal or paying by monthly direct debit. It’s very kind of them to go to the trouble of doing this, though there is, of course, a suspicion at the back of my mind, that the letter isn’t really for our benefit.

A thought crosses my mind at this point. If they send one letter a year to their 33 million customers (I take this figure from Eon’s Wikipedia entry) and if each letter costs 50p (for ease of calculation) that costs £16.5 million. Sounds like a lot of money. They could do a lot with that money.

But…

From 2006-10 their sponsorship of the FA Cup (including the Women’s and Youth Cups) cost them £40 million.  They spent money on other sports-related sponsorship too, but that’s the only one that has a figure attached on Wiki.

The question is, did this make them any money? I don’t know about you but “What sports do they sponsor?” isn’t top of my list when selecting an energy supplier.

Similarly, they spent around £28 million on supporting the Museum next to their corporate HQ over the years 1998 – 2014.

Again, it wouldn’t really influence me in my choice of supplier. I might feel good about indirectly supporting a museum, but it would come a long way after price and green credentials.

It may be that sponsorship pays its way. It may be that sponsorship is just a massive vanity project.

The only thing I do know for sure is that if they sent out one less letter per customer per year they could probably pay for all the sponsorship, and save 8,715 trees a year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Woodland – Rufford Park

(I calculated the tree usage from this website).

Continue reading

Trees are Good for You

The sun has just broken through the clouds, bringing a welcome brightness to a wet, grey day. I’m typing and watching antiques programmes on TV after a late lunch of home made pea and mint soup. Today has been productive and pleasant and all is right with the world. The only thing that could improve my mood is an invitation to stay at Blandings Castle.

So why am I wound up to the point of homicide?

Because yet again I’ve had to go to the phone to answer a call from an overseas call centre. I’m registered with the Telephone Preference Service but unfortunately this doesn’t stop the overseas calls and we are getting one or two of those every day. We notice them more that we are at home.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Trees at Arnot Hill Park

As a general rule I try to be polite because the callers are only doing a job, but today I wasn’t in much of a mood for manners. I was forthright rather than rude, but I don’t suppose I improved their day. In fairness, they didn’t improve mine either.

As part of my on-going process of self-improvement I’m going to stop being irritable and start letting karma take its course. As I always told the kids, you shouldn’t let the actions of others dictate your behaviour.

From now on I’m going to stay polite and let karma sort things out. It’s just that I’d find it easier to do if I was allowed to pick karma up and hit people with it.

The trees are archive shots because if you want to be calm, trees are good for you.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sunset in Sherwood

More Trees of Sherwood Forest

After preparing the last Sherwood post I realised I didn’t have a very good selection of trees. This was partly because I hadn’t taken enough pictures, partly because I needed to visit more trees and (to be honest) because I’ve mislaid some photos.

I can’t do much about the last point, apart from a lot of boring searching, so I short-circuited that by making another visit and taking more photos.

It was an admin day today so we’d lost the best of the light by the time we started, but there was enough to get a good selection of photos. Many of them look like they are dead, and some are, but many of them will have leaves when spring comes, despite being hollow. Hollow trees are often quite vigorous as the material from the middle rots down and feeds the remaining parts of the tree.

Smaller holes are good too – providing nest holes for various birds and roosts for bats. The population of Great Spotted Woodpeckers has increased 400% since the late 60s due to a number of factors, including more available nest sites. Nest sites are important to hole dwelling birds.  In Sweden half of their Red Listed birds are hole-nesters who are declining due to a lack of tree holes. Meanwhile, Swifts, House Martins and Sparrows are all finding it difficult in the UK as people close holes in buildings.

The Trees of Sherwood Forest

When I say “The Trees of Sherwood Forest” I really mean the ancient oaks. At the moment when people quote a figure they seem happy with the figure 997 – 450 of which are living.  About 250 of the 450 are healthy and 200 are in various states of declining health.

They say an oak spends 300 years growing, 300 years in maturity and 300 years dying, so this isn’t necessarily a cause for concern, though in 2007 they did lose seven trees – including four in one particularly blustery night.

There is a plantation in Dorset that contains 260 saplings grown from acorns of the Major Oak, but it was only planted in 2003, so they are still 287 years from maturity. I know that you have to take a long view when dealing with trees, but planting for a time 300 years from now is hard to take in.

Oaks support more species than any other tree, being host to around 350 species of insect and 30 species of lichen. The insects are food for birds: acorns feed jays, badgers, deer and squirrels (and, traditionally, pigs) and the flowers and buds are the foodplants of the caterpillars of the purple hairstreak.

Even the dead trees provide habitat for insects, plus nesting and roosting sites for birds and bats.

The most famous of the ancient oaks is the Major Oak, voted Britain’s Favourite Tree in 2002 and England’s Tree of the Year in 2014. It is something of a celebrity and will always be associated with Robin Hood. The story that he hid inside it is unlikely – at an estimated age of 800 – 1,000 years it was, at best, a young tree in Robin Hood’s time, and possibly just an acorn. Such are legends…

Here is a link to a site detailing some of the other famous oaks of Sherwood.

 

 

 

The Woods of Rufford Abbey

It was sunny today for the first time in three days so it was off to Rufford Abbey with the camera and a happy heart. We weren’t the only ones, as there was a full car park and what seemed to be a coach trip too.

I’ll put the bird photos up later, along with the story of the trials of bird photography and several hundred words of excuses for not doing better.

For now, just have a look at the sun and woodlands.

The brick picture shows a brick from the Welbeck brickyard. Julia spotted it. She likes looking for old local bricks. Production of bricks at Welbeck Colliery started in 1926 and the stamp presumably changed to NCB Welbeck in 1947 with nationalisation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Old brick in the woods – from Welbech Colliery brickyard