Showing posts from November, 2015

The Tree of Life

Looking through the windows of the Garage (it's actually no longer a garage - we converted it to a lounge area years ago - but old habits die hard), I have a clear view of the remains of a cherry tree. Once the pride of the garden with a tight mass of eye smarting, white candy floss blooms in spring, it is sadly now just a pared down skeletal stump with a few twisted antlers of decaying wood. Where once hundreds of lithe young branches would whiplash in a summer breeze, its corpse now stands bare; a sorry disease stricken remnant of past glories.
I had to take a saw to this once splendid specimen some 10 years ago, regretting each stroke of the toothed blade but knowing for safety's sake that it needed to be done. I cut the branches so removed into manageable chunks and piled them in a shady spot under a hedge where they have subsequently provided a breeding, feeding and hiding place for myriad small invertebrates, amphibians and mammals whilst they rot. The remaining trunk has…

Portuguese Portrait

The minibuses came to a halt, pulling into a conveniently sited recess along a road bisecting gently rolling coastal heathland. Our group of eager nature lovers disgorged as quickly as their maturing bodies would allow in order to see up close booted eagles, a pair, that we had spotted hunting low over the sandy ground. Binoculars were swiftly raised in the expectation these raptors would fly away from the press of humanity pouring from their metal boxes like toothpaste squeezed from a tube, but the eagles had another imperative; the need to find food outweighed their natural fear of all things human. These beautifully marked birds were on migration, moving south from breeding grounds in the north of Portugal, or maybe somewhere in Spain, to spend the winter in Africa. Now encountering the vast expanse of the Atlantic, they would have to change course and move along the southern shores of the Iberian Peninsula to find the narrower crossing point across the Gibraltar Straits. Meanwhile …