18 May 2022

Tree

Our Ian and the conker tree last weekend

It was in the autumn of 1987 when a little boy and his doting father walked along a quiet lane where horse chestnut or conker trees grew. It was in The Ewden Valley in South Yorkshire. Conkers were everywhere. Some were still in their spiky seed pods and others had bounced away after hitting the ground.

The small boy and his father gathered conkers in a shopping bag and when they got home they placed one of them in a plant pot. It sprouted the following spring and a year after that they moved house without forgetting to bring the tiny conker tree with them.

That little boy was my son Ian who will be thirty eight years old this summer and of course the doting father was me.

In thirty five years that conker tree gradually increased in size to become a giant that stood forty feet off the ground. When a tree stands just a few inches tall, you never really visualise what it might become.

Today Ian's mighty tree was brought down in three hours by a small team of tree surgeons wielding chainsaws. I asked the leader how much wood they thought they'd be removing and he said between 1.5 and 2.0 tons. To think, the original conker probably weighed no more than two ounces!

Tree surgeon at work today 

Well, we have saved some of the wood - hopefully to make into bowls and chopping boards so that Ian will always have tangible souvenirs of his special tree. Also, a friend who has a log burner asked us to save him a pile of logs. In addition, I asked the fellows to leave a six foot stump that could henceforth be used as an extra bird table.

I feel quite sad that the tree has gone. Sometimes pigeons nested in its branches. For thirty three autumns I cleared up its fallen leaves and  in thirty three springs I watched it budding and bursting into life. It's rather like parting company with an old friend, one that I will always remember fondly.

What remains

38 comments:

  1. How sad to have to lose such a lovely, living, tangible reminder of Ian's chikdhood. Although a 40 ft tree in a back garden could become a problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There were issues with the tree. For example, our next door neighbours were not happy about the shadowing effect on their garden. It had to go.

      Delete
  2. It is indeed sad YP. . Wasn't there some American poet who said "There is nothing more beautiful than a tree"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know but there was a Yorkshire poet who said, "There is nothing more beautiful than a pint of Tetley's".

      Delete
  3. Trees are so obviously sentient beings in some manner or form. It is always hard to see them go but sometimes, it is necessary. I call the people who take them down so skillfully, safely and gracefully "tree dancers."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our main "tree dancer" was 6ft 7ins tall and made me feel like a dwarf. Perhaps you sometimes have that feeling with your former basketballer.

      Delete
  4. "I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree,,," Joyce Kilmer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Though they have no words they speak.

      Delete
  5. A hard decision no doubt but I'm sure it had to be done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We had been thinking about it for two or three years.

      Delete
  6. That's sad. I hate seeing trees cut down although I understand it's necessary at times. We have two trees with something called black knot fungus which eventually have to be cut down, until then we try to keep the fungus under control, with limited succes.

    That's nice that you saved some of the wood, it contains a lot of memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Though it has gone the tree will live on in a few wooden items.

      Delete
  7. It's a pity it had to go.
    A skilled woodworker could turn it into any number of beautiful items, bowls and chopping boards are particularly appropriate to Ian's life though aren't they?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have had ideas about making some things myself but I am not a skilled woodworker so I think I will do some research on this.

      Delete
  8. Sweet story, Neil! Glad you will make use of some of the pieces.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was always the plan Ellen. Perhaps I should have saved some more.

      Delete
  9. We are surrounded by trees and while some have had to come down over the years, it's always a hard choice to make.
    Nice that you can have some souvenirs, though, to keep the tree with you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Today I must admit that I bear some guilt - as if I am responsible for a murder.

      Delete
  10. It's always sad to see a tree go down. We had one (more of a weed) die in our back yard a couple of years ago and it had to be taken out. BTW, re the pint of Tetley's, I have a photo I'd like to send you but I don't know your email address. You could send it to me at ndakotan.taylor77@gmail.com if you like.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I enjoyed your story of the origin of the tree but I missed why it had to be taken down. We don't have conker trees here but the Micro Manager talks about them all the time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are three or four reasons for the removal including our next door neighbours on one side. They don't like the shadowing even though their garden is a neglected mess.

      Delete
  12. Trees are so often compared to people (or the other way round), with their life cycle starting from a minuscule seed and growing (hopefully) into strong, beautiful beings enriching their environment.
    I think I would have kept some conkers and grown new trees from them, but to use some of Ian's tree's wood to make bowls and chopping boards as well as using the stump as a bird table are very good ideas, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. We have three or four tiny trees - grown from the old tree's conkers - one day to be planted elsewhere - maybe secretly in the countryside.

      Delete
  13. What a shame it had to go! In 1977 we had a holiday on the Isle of Mull. I picked up some shiny fur cones and when we got home ( Morpeth) they opened up in the warmth and seed fell out. I planted them and they grew into tiny trees. Some of them came with us to Harpenden 4 years later and when they were getting too big for the garden ( about 4/5 feet) 3 were transplanted to the edge of a wood on a friend's property, where I assume they are still growing. Our first child was conceived on that holiday and they were always known as Sam's trees. Sadly our friend passed away last year so I can't go to see them! They must be huge by now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice memories but I am pleased that you did not go into details about Sam's conception.

      Delete
  14. Sad to see the tree go, but you have your memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We cannot hold back the march of time.

      Delete
  15. It's a shame to have to take it down, but at least you've found a way to repurpose some of the wood and keep it in your lives in some fashion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Already I am wishing that I had saved more of the wood.

      Delete
  16. Why was the tree cut down? I am glad some of the wood will become bowls and chopping boards. And a six foot stump for a bird feeder sounds great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A few different reasons for cutting it down including grumpy neighbours next door.

      Delete
  17. Not many trees can we outlive. I’ve planted, hundreds and those that survived deer or rabbits are still growing and will probably continue long after I’m dust again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How wonderful that you have planted many trees Ed.

      Delete
  18. That's sad that the tree needed to come down, but at least you saved some wood from it for keepsakes. I can imagine how attached to the tree your whole family was, especially Ian.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I must admit that the decision was not without regrets.

      Delete
  19. I love how you're making use of this lovely tree's parts, (the stump in particular.) I adore stumps and have three in various places in my yard. My favourite part of "The Giving Tree" story is the ending when the boy, (now an old man), rests on his stump.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course we won't live here forever and we can't take the tree with us.

      Delete

Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

Most Visits