scribbles tagged ‘tree’

foggy days

Sunday, April 6th, 2014 | tags: , , , , ,  |

tree before smogWhy I love England #22: foggy days

Seeing the winter tree skeletons defined against a soft canvas of white.  Hearing the laughter and chatter of children as the emerge, ghostly forms made real, from the fog. I love the mystery of the fog

I’m not so keen on the smog

My wood burning stove uses special filters to reduce the pollution possible from wood smoke. I took this photograph thinking it was fog. Later published pollution levels imply this picture is actually of pollution. People were warned to stay indoors, mot exercise…    …so sad…


foggy days
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beware the trees

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

trees are evil

with this one comment you intrigued me and raised the possibility that you were ever so slightly on a planet very distant from planet wendy 

How does that work, how are trees evil?

Tree bridges road

With an earnest expression you explained how they obscured street-signs so that you missed your turning or got lost in unfamiliar areas. They dropped leaves on sidewalks making them unclean and more slippy than is acceptable. They harboured birds that could poop on you as you walked underneath.  As you started the litany of tree crimes I had to work to subdue my smiles. As the list grew and your earnestness was maintained I felt the need to defend the behaviours of the trees, but decided not to take a contrary position on a topic that clearly raised strong emotions.

Later that evening you mentioned your allegy to mud, dirt.  In the ensuing conversation I let a giggle slip through. Not good, from then on I became the accomplice of the evil conspiracy. You needed to aggressively eradicate me, like dirt. Luckily, you moved to California before I felt the full force of your hygiene enforcement

beware the trees
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tree stump avoidance

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

walking up the hillHalfway up the Thames Valley’s infamous Streatly Bobsliegh run the Reading team stop to discuss

how best to use their cardboard sled

advanced tree-stump avoidance tactics

healthcare provision

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in the forest

Friday, October 1st, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

masseur: you know how you associate places with people?

tree decorated with snowThere’s a moments silence while he’s pulling my arm, seemingly out of its socket, and I think of places and people. The gentle melancholly when I visit a place filled with happy memories, that is no longer the same place without the people that made it happy. The distracting sadness when I visit a place full of painful memories and the forgotten pains flood in.

masseur: I cycled through that village in the new forest that you mentioned, Lyndhurst, and the place reminded me of you

Thats a beautiful, peaceful, place to be associated with.

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smell the colours

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

 lover: you’re a very visual person

wendy: I’ve got two eyes and I like to keep them peeled lest I start to loose things and fall over more than normal

lover: no, i mean you like to make love in the daylight, outdoors

wendy: that”s so much more than visual. Thats the breeze drying the sweat on your back, smell of the dew on the grass and the leaf mulch in your hair, the shiver from the scatchy snow on your buttocks.  That’s not just visual, that’s living.

lover: that will take me a while to get used to

But he never got the chance to ‘get used to it’ because I wasn’t patient enough to be waiting for someone in their 40’s to learn how to make love out from under cover of darkness, sheets and comfort of artificially sprung surfaces.  There are times when throwing caution to the evening breeze is exhillerating and worthy of a plunge

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with tree and me

Sunday, November 15th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

Tiger: you were sat under your tree
Wendy: my tree?
Tiger: In Kingfisher field
Wendy: the copper beech?
Tiger: yes.   before I came to call for you, first  I would come by the field and look under the tree because you were often there,   you did a lot of your exam revision under the tree
Wendy: yes, I remember now. The tree was very helpful.   A calm, wise tree.   A girl’s got to develop a strong bond with a well established tree during her formative years. I had completely forgotten it.
Tiger:   Oh, Honey,   you are SO fickle

Salisbury CathedralThis blog post was bought to you courtesy of a cellular connection infront of Salisbury cathedral on a sunny September saturday courtesy of the letter T,   the colour green, and the shade of a conker tree.   Another day, another tree. Some things don’t change, other things change frequently.  Perhaps it’s time to find  a tree in Reading…

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distinctive seasons

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Why I love England #12: distinctive seasons

Some long  daylight days,   some long evenings,    changing colours,    smells, temperatures,   ….feel.   I love how the changes bring different moods and experiences.

Beach Tree Walkway

sunlight and dew

Avenue in Palmer's park

Cemetery Junction


distinctive seasons
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custody control – for trees

Thursday, October 8th, 2009 | tags:  |

A company called Helvata puts barcodes on trees in forrests then tracks where they go.   The provenance of your garden furniture could be traceable back to a Bolivian forrest!

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leafy roadways

Saturday, September 26th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

Road across DartmoorWhy I love England #11: leafy roadways

Driving down many of the roads in rural England is like driving through a tunnel,   the trees on either side meet above you.   On sunny days dappled light dances on the road.   Beautiful

leafy roadways
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Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 | tags: ,  |

Avenuelots of pollards line the streets of quaint little English villages.   Apparantly, pollards maintain a partially  juvenille state, living longer than maiden trees.   I wonder if haircuts work in the same way for humans?

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Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

hint of rainbowwhy I love England #10:   conkers

A wealth of green leafy blooming conker trees in the spring showers and sunshine hail the arrival of competitive conker activities where naughty cheater might resort to soaking said conkers in vinegar or hardening them by  cooking them in the oven.   One-ers,   two-ers,   and more,   champion conkers paraded and gawped-at performing in play grounds,   fields and gardens.   The sound of conker on conker is as English as leather on willow.

Goodness,   its one of the legacies of the empire.

It’s more than rather cute

It’s rather fun.

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to you from me

Saturday, February 14th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

Beach Tree Walkway

to you from me
below the love tree

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Saturday, November 1st, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

The Wendy House Sambucus nigra,  or Elderberry (flickr photoshare)After consulting with the experts (mum, friend, their books, the internet) I thought that the nobly, noble, small tree in my garden was a ‘Sambucus nigra’ more commonly known as an Elderberry and before that as aeld.  

Like many trees the Mythical history of the Elderberry  proposes, or describes its traditional uses.  The name may come from the Anglo-Saxon term ellaern or aeld which means “fire” or “to kindle a fire“.   It was associated with female-centric goddess systems then over time gradually perverted to represent ‘mischievious faeries’  by both the celts of  Ireland and England.   Traditionally the Elder is placed by the back door of a home, where mine grows, to keep evil spirits from influencing or entering the home and used to pin the thatch to a roof.   The runic association is with Feh,  the first rune, indicating where one sequence ends and another begins,   the cusp of transition,   renewal.

 British Christians gave the Elder a more sinister press,   claiming that Judas committed suicide by hanging himself from this tree.   He must have been short or the tree leaning over a decent drop.   Along with many other trees it is claimed Jesus was crucified on an cross made of Elder.

Then a garden specialist happened to wander by saying  that’s a Viburnum tinus

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Palmers Park

Saturday, April 19th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

Named after Mr. George Palmer of Biscuit fame who donated the land for use as a Park,   next to the South Park conservation area of Reading.    Palmers park currently includes a:

1) lot of trees and grass that are  occassionally covered in snow or sunlight and are always beautiful.

2) sports stadium.   Featuring a  velodrome  with lots of people wearing colourful lycra and providing exercise classes called ‘legs bums & tums’ for people who have not yet earned the right to wear lycra.

3) library  that is really rather cute.

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secret garden (conkers)

Thursday, March 1st, 2007 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

twenty-first post in a  Thursday series of snoops into experiences of taking tiffin with  (black) tea  in the NW USA.

Thursday Tiffin #21: secret garden  (conkers)

recommended venue for an atmospheric, private,  conversation with special friends or family over a good cup of tea and to stock up some sizable conkers.

1890’s Historically registered building.   For the US West coast that is REALLY OLD!   There are several huge old conker trees in the garden.   The ground is littered with conkers.    I rarely see conker trees in the puget sound region.   A habit left over from childhood, I placed a few big, heavy,  symmetrical conkers in my pocket, just incase…    

Inside,    high quality retro décor, not kitsch or overdone.   White table-clothes and napkins.   Antique furniture that is not ‘distressed’.   The establishment blends beautifully American and English tea taking ceremonies with excellent food in a tasteful, timeless ambiance.   Let me say ‘excellent food’ once again.   Prices are neither cheap  nor  exorbitant.   I had a large bowl of Coconut Chicken Lemon grass soup with a scone and a small pot of Darjeeling that came to about $10 including tax.


  • clientele included men as well as women
  • a jug of milk was offered before it was requested
  • sugar-cubes in a bowl with tongs
  • matching china crockery and pseudo-silver flatware
  • soup served with an actual soup spoon


  • The en-suite shop that sells quaint things, pink things and sparkly jewellery things
  • A glass of iced water, regularly topped-up
  • The scones (more like English rock cakes)
  • wide choice of sugar substitutes in sachets on the table
  • over 70 types of tea on a laminated plastic menu
  • staff attentive and clearly amenable to customer requests not currently on the menu.   I overhead a customer asking for, and receiving,   iced tea.   In January.  

Those tiny imperfections that even an excellent establishment can have…they are trivial….

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Sunday, December 3rd, 2006 | tags: , , ,  |

Party season and dressing-up time (tree and me) is here!  Religious?   Looks like religious consumerism frenzy with some Christianity thrown into the mix based on many diverse seasonal pre-Christian ceremonies and some generally bizarre behaviour.   Seems like mostly well intentioned good fun.   In the Wendy House:

Same tree as last year,  wearing it’s party-best with an imposing new Angel atop


Same Wendy as last year,   this year wandering around an EMP seasonal party armed with Camera, LaCroix, Bollywood fans  and Russians,   including a very creamy white one.   I was tempted onto the dance floor by Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen’,   kept there by the Bee Gee’s “Saturday night fever” and the Village people’s “YMCA“.   The DJ’s 80’s  tunes mapped rather closely to my  stereotype of ‘gay’ music.   It’s possible that I was sending  an unintentionally inaccurate message about my gender preferences by dancing to these tracks,   they were familiar and  FUN!   While LaCroix put her colour theory and unique eye into picture action I tried to capture the atmosphere during a Bollywood style song:

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Madrona tree (Arbutus)

Sunday, May 15th, 2005 | tags: ,  |

A beautiful tree, abundant on the west-coasts in Washington State. Locally referred to as the Madrona tree. I’ve attached 3 photographs below. The Seattle district of “Magnolia” is reportedly named after an entry in Captain Vancouver’s ships’ log where, from a distance, he mistook the Madronas for Magnolias.

The Government of British Columbia Ministry of Forest refer to the tree as:

Arbutus is the only native broadleaf evergreen tree in Canada. Another common name is madrone, a Spanish word for the strawberry tree, of which arbutus is a close relative. The Scottish botanist Archibald Menzies first collected specimens in 1792 and described it as the oriental strawberry tree.”

A US ‘animal lovers’ website refers to it as:

“Arbutus, genus of small trees and shrubs of the heath family, including the madrona tree (Arbutus menziesii) of California and Oregon, and the strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) of Europe. In the eastern United States a closely related genus is called trailing arbutus. Arbutus menziesii is broadleaf evergreen tree, up to 30 metres tall, usually with a crooked or leaning trunk that divides into several twisting upright branches and an irregularly rounded crown.”

An Irish botanical website makes references to the “shrubs’ in ancient history:

“the fruit was known to the ancients, but according to Pliny (who gave the tree the name of Arbutus) was not held in much esteem, as the name implies (un ede=one 1 eat), the fruits being considered so unpalatable, that no one tasting them for the first time would be tempted to repeat the experiment. Nevertheless, there is some evidence that at one time the fruit was an article of diet with the ancients. Horace praises the tree for its shade and Ovid for its loads of ‘blushing fruit.’ Virgil recommends the young shoots as winter food for goats and for basket-work.”

This comment piqued my interest:

“When eaten in quantities this fruit is said to be narcotic, and the wine made from it in Spain has the same property.”

Wendy Fancies-a-drop-of-madrona-fruit-wine

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Hickory Trees

Thursday, April 21st, 2005 | tags: , , ,  |

Charlotte, NC #4

Lots of places and people here are named after the Hickory. Local by President Andrew Jackson was nick-named “Old Hickory”, Churches, roads and towns have Hickory in their name.

A good local BBQ uses Hickory wood to flavour the meat. We tried some at the “Old Hickory House”. Good wholesome tasty food!

The Hickory is a deciduous tree from the Walnut family. The Latin genus is “Carya”. This includes the “Pecan”. According to Wikipedia there are 17 types. About 12 are Native to North America. The 3 main types referred to on north American web-sites are:

  • Shagbark or Scaleybark (carya ovata) – prized for smoking meats, particularly pork. The nuts are also considered very good and an extract of the bark is used to make a syrup similar to Maple syrup. This tree appears to have many names including: shagbark, bigleaf shagbark, kingnut, big shellbark, bottom shellbark, thick shellbark, and western shellbark.
  • Shellbark (Carya laciniosa) – dense, strong, elastic wood used for making tool handles, athletic equipment, furniture, construction timbers, firewood, and its wood chips are utilized in the smoking of meats.
  • Bitternut (carya cordiformis) – as the name implies, these nuts are not favoured by humans though they do appeal to squirrels.

Tree-hugging Wendy

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Camoflaged cellular tower

Wednesday, April 20th, 2005 | tags: ,  |

Charlotte NC #1

I’m in Charlotte North Carolina for a while. I nearly missed ‘seeing’ this cellular tower because of its cunning camoflage! The give-away clue is mainly that it is much taller than surrounding trees. It’s very near the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC).  

Have you seen any cunningly disguised cellular towers?

If so I’d love to hear about them, find out where they are and see pictures

Night night, Wendy

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