open the curtains

and take a look out the window if you want to know what the weather's like


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So, Christmas Tree: How Green Are Your Branches?

The tree is easily my favourite part of Christmas, and has been since childhood. Since I left home I’ve always had a small one in a pot, the second of which, having already done two Christmases, was doing really well up until about three weeks ago when two-thirds of it started to go brown. The time had come to replace it if I were to have a tree at all in my own home this year.

I’ve always preferred real trees to the artificial alternatives, partly because we always had a floor-to-ceiling Norway Spruce in our lounge when I was little. It smelled delicious and shed characteristically all over the presents every year. However a friend of mine suggested the better option for me now might be an artificial one, as I wouldn’t have to worry about nursing it through to next year, they never drop needles, and they are much better for the world than real ones (that aren’t in pots) as you keep re-using the same one instead of cutting down and disposing of a new tree every year.

I did feel a pang of guilt: Christmas is an incredibly wasteful time with 3 million extra tonnes of rubbish produced every year in the UK. Continue reading

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Deciduous Coniferous

2012.11.09 Coniferous vs. broadleaf

Idless Wood, Truro

As we stepped out of the car Annie and I were greeted by at least five dogs of varying shapes, sizes, ages and muddiness who were making their way from the gateway into Idless Wood across the car park. Two women followed behind, calling them to their car which was parked next to ours. While they attempted to bundle their entire pack into the boot of a single (Fiesta-ish sized) car, we released Luna from her puppy pen on the back seat. At thirteen weeks old she was tiny in comparison to the aged and well-fed beasts that came enthusiastically to sniff her face (the women were not succeeding in getting them car-bound), but being a whippet she looked extra waif-like next to them. Don’t worry said one of the women as Luna quivered on her skinny legs and tried to get back in the car, when you’re grown up you’ll be able to outrun all of them in a flash.

Idless Wood or St Clement’s Wood, is a Forestry Commission managed patch of broadleaved woodland and larch plantation. On entering by the main path we were met with Forestry Commission signs advising us of their usual tree cutting practices; along another posing the question Why are all the trees dying? Continue reading


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A Little Lesson from the Ash Crisis

Yesterday at work I informed a customer that by not taking a plastic bag they were doubly aiding the natural environment as in addition to reducing plastic waste they were contributing to the enhancement of the great British outdoors through the company’s policy of donating a penny for every bag Not used to the Woodland Trust. Does that mean one more ash tree gets saved then? Quipped the customer in question. Let’s hope so, I replied, though it occurred to me as I said it that even though I am familiar with the species as being one of the more common trees of British woodland I wasn’t entirely sure what one looked like. I love trees, but will shamelessly own up to being woefully under-informed when it comes to matters of dendrology.

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