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winter

Dear Quixotree followers,

You are a select (and very small!) group of tree lovers and others, and Quixotree owes you an apology. Quixotree has been very inactive throughout the northern winter and spring, marooned in that large brown gash on the planet that runs from the atlantic to the himalayas. It is a place where trees generally choose not to visit.

Since returning from southern europe in late October Quixotree has not left the region. By historic standards it has been a wet and (of course) warm winter here in Arabia, but still the trees do not grow. We need less hummus and more humus.

But hope springs eternal. Northern europe is belatedly showing signs of becoming habitable again. A sickly spring is slowly succumbing to an inevitable summer. There are fears of another “year without a summer” (the year 1816 lacked a  european summer, because of an historic low in solar activity and a major volcanic event at Mount Tambora in Indonesia). But summer WILL prevail. In England, it will rain at Wimbledon for the tennis, and then the clouds will clear for the short northern summer. Quixotree will be there, bathing his eyes in verdure.

And – as a sign that nature must conquer in the end – my apple tree three and a half thousand miles from here has decided that it cannot wait any longer if the bees are to be kept busy.

bees required - no previous experience necessary

bees required – no previous experience necessary

Bring on summer! *

* with apologies to antipodean friends.

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…to the tune   “A TRIP TO BANALITY AND BACK ON ODIN’S HORSE”.

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On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me Yggdrasil – cold, dark northern mother of every partridge in all the pear trees.

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On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me TWO sacred groves, where germanic pagans made yuletide sacrifice of turtle doves, and Yggdrasil…

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On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me THREE frankish henchmen, with St Boniface to fell Donar’s nasty pagan oak, TWO sacred groves…

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On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me FOUR Livonian Schwarzhäupter sworn to defend the Baltic from pagan revolts, THREE frankish henchmen, TWO sacred groves…

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On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me

M-A-R-T-I-N     L-U-T-H-E-R-S    R-I-N-G-S

(glittering as he added those candles to his saxon fir tree)… FOUR Livonian schwarzhaupter, THREE Frankish henchmen…

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On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me SIX German princesses with time a-laying heavy… M-A-R-T-I-N     L-U-T-H-E-R-S    R-I-N-G-S… FOUR schwartzhaupter, THREE French henchmen, TWO sacred groves…

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On the seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me SEVEN Victorian matrons swooning, SIX princesses a-languishing,  M-A-R-T-I-N     L-U-T-H-E-R-S    R-I-N-G-S… FOUR schwartzhaupter, THREE French henchmen…

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On the eighth day of Christmas my true love sent to me EIGHT schmaltzy scribblers (having a dickens of a time) milking, SEVEN matrons swooning, SIX princesses a-languishing,  M-A-R-T-I-N     L-U-T-H-E-R-S    R-I-N-G-S…

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On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me NINE Bolsheviks dancing around their secular New Year Tree, EIGHT schmaltzy scribblers, SEVEN matrons swooning, SIX princesses a-languishing,  M-A-R-T-I-N     L-U-T-H-E-R-S    R-I-N-G-S…

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On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me TEN Boston lords leaping-angry at the PC “holiday tree”, NINE bolshies dancing, EIGHT schmaltzy scribblers, SEVEN matrons swooning…

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On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me ELEVEN million dollars flaunted on the “Most Expensive Christmas Tree Ever Created”, in a muslim city, in a bling bling hotel, TEN angry lords, NINE bolshies dancing, EIGHT schmaltzy scribblers…

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On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me TWELVE pages of hits on “Christmas Tree” in the Kindle e-book store, including the classics: The First Christmas Tree…The Last Christmas Tree…The Lonely Christmas Tree…Get A Good Christmas Tree or Die Trying…Baby Beneath The Christmas Tree (MIlls and Boon)…An Angel for the Christmas Tree (probably not Mills and Boon)…A Cowboy Under My Christmas Tree (?)…Swapping (and worse) Around the Christmas Tree (definitely NOT Mills and Boon)… BOGOF (the supermarket cat) and the Christmas Tree… The Runaway Christmas Tree…und so weiter, as the Weihnachtsbaum lovers say….

…ELEVEN million dollars, TEN Lords a-leaping, NINE Bolshies dancing, EIGHT schmaltzy scribblers, SEVEN matrons swooning, SIX princesses a-languishing…

M-A-R-T-I-N     L-U-T-H-E-R-S    R-I-N-G-S

…FOUR schwartzhaupter, THREE French henchmen, TWO sacred groves…and Yggdrasil,.. where all this craziness begins.

bah humbug

It’s National Tree Week in the UK, “an annual celebration to start the UK’s winter tree planting season”. With the diabolically wet weather right now, let’s hope all those keenly dug planting holes are not a complete wash out. (Trees can drown too).

For those who would like to learn more, maybe even to support the cause, here are three excellent authorities to inform:

THE BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/20464917

THE UK TREE COUNCIL

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/20464917

TIMES EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT (TES) – teaching resources

http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/National-Tree-Week-3012589/

Robin’s rest

And for those who just like to look at interesting trees, here’s what is claimed to be the “most famous tree in England” – The Major Oak (Robin Hood’s Oak) in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire. It has a girth of 33 feet and is estimated between 800 and 1000 years old.