Saturday, 21 January 2012

Trees where you sit

I have no idea how this photo came to be on my camera.  I was uploading some pics to go on Photobucket to go with my Freecycle posts so wannabe junk acquisitors could see what they were letting themselves in for, when to my surprise I found this photo smuggled in too.  Trees, jostling together to peer into our back room.

Made me laugh, and reminded me of a recording I had of Aled Jones when he was a child, singing most beautifully Where’er You Walk, Handel’s setting of this snatch of Alexander Pope’s poem Summer:
Where-e'er you walk, cool gales shall fan the glade,  Trees, where you sit, shall crowd into a shade,  Where-e'er you tread, the blushing flow'rs shall rise,  And all things flourish where you turn your eyes.

It went on his album called (I think) The Best of Aled Jones or something, that travelled with me in cassette form until cassette machines dropped off the edge of the world.   So it came to pass that I had this tape with me when I moved in to Bernard’s cottage on the edge of Flatroper’s Wood, and often used to play it because he liked it especially.

After he had listened carefully to Where’er You Walk several times, he ventured to ask (this must have been something to do with Aled Jones’s Welsh intonation) why all those trees wanted to crowd into a shed when the lady sat down.

And it became a standing joke with us, about trees crowding into the shed.  Bernard came through from the bathroom one morning with a funny kind of grin on his face.  He’d found a leafy little twig on the bathroom floor – must have drifted through the window, we always had them open and there were trees and hedges all round the cottage.  But Bernard’s theory was that, not content with crowding into the shed, they were on their way in through the bathroom window when our backs were turned.

Bernard used to say the trees waving was what caused the wind – obviously really, once you notice the wind only arises when the trees are waving . . .  When he spent that long month in hospital before he came home to end his life in the peace of his own cottage, for part of the time he had a bed near the window looking across a parking lot ringed of the further side with trees.  He told me once when I came in for my daily visit (that is to say, he wrote it down; he couldn’t speak because of his tracheostomy) that a tree across the car park had recognised him at last.  He said the tree hadn’t known him at first but that morning it had waved to him  :0)

Bernard . . . When we went on our long rambles through the woods, every time we came to a bridge or log crossing a stream, we had to walk over it without speaking lest we rouse the troll living underneath it.  He didn’t discuss this.  Just put his finger to his lips with a warning look as we approached the stream – and we crossed in perfect silence, like the sages in Chapter 15 of the Tao.

The photo must have been taken by someone when  was out – our hapless builder maybe – showing a moment when the trees of Silverhill took a leaf out of the book of the trees of Flatroper’s Wood, and took it into their heads to see if they could crowd into the shed here.


365 Day 21 (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here)

Ah – Kindle instruction leaflets.  It is not very hard to work a Kindle.  This picture is an example of a type of thing I have cleared out.  I was carefully keeping a number of instruction leaflets for things I could work perfectly well, or brochures that came with things I bought, “just in case”.  Well, I’ve thrown them away.


Anonymous said...

Memories are wonderful companions :)

Thank you for sharing yours...


Ember said...

:0) x

Ganeida said...

The windows in our 2nd story bedroom go from floor to ceiling & one of the things I love about that is being perched amongst the leafy branches with the birds & the butterflies. The cats love it! They can peer down the hill & see everything that's going on for miles.

Ember said...


kat said...

Jen went on many a troll hunt walking in Flatropers as a small child - a place with balm for the soul and the most wonderful wood ant nests and watching trees. I'd forgotten that trolls lived there :-)

Ember said...


Oh, the wood ants! Yes, the cities they built there were amazing - waist high!

The day Hebe and I moved out and came back to St Leonards, when Bernard died, we pulled up in Combermere Road to discover we had inadvertently picked up a passenger: on the car dasboard was sitting a wood ant, still clutching its little piece of wood from Bixley Lane :0(