Last year was a real roller-coaster. Of course it had its glorious moments – the chief of which in my life was the launch of Wherever We Live Now but for an awful ot of people there was a sense of loss and closure and dismay. Some careers ended, som relationships went through the mill, some people had to accept the realities of living with illness and old age, and whatever illusions we’d been nurturing about a quick end to recession and return to normal, or about the Arab Spring were firmly squashed.
But out of all this seems to have come a certain sense of clarity and a new start. We may not be where we thought we were, but our feet are on solid ground now, and we can make a new start. So this is what I’ve been doing, taking advantage of a bright morning to go for a first territory walk, and establish exactly what trees there are along the river road.
The youngest trees are these oak seedlings, planted by the farmer three years ago. The guards are to keep the rabbits off the vulnerable shoots, and so far it seems to be working.
These are young alders, growing right on the river bank. The river is tidal and shallow here, so they often have their feet in water, which they like, so they should do well.
There are many sallows on the other bank, but this is the only one along this stretch on our side. If you’ve followed the blog for a while, you’ll have seen photos of the larger green willows that are more typical.
And this is the most common tree on this bank, a big ash, covered in ivy.
There are also hawthorns, brambles elders wild roses and honeysuckle, and round the factory there are sycamores, rowans, cypreeses and larches, most of which were planted as screens or ornamental plantings. I’m planning to do this walk regularly, focussing this year on the birds and flowering plants I see, and to try and understand more about this square mile I live in.