Friday, June 26, 2009

Ladies & Gentleman...

I started writing this post in my head lastnight on the way home from Birmingham. I often find myself composing blog posts in my head although few make it to my blog.

I wanted to say what a great pleasure it is to be able to add Mr BB King and John Mayall to my gig list after last nights amazing concert! It really was amazing aswell. John Mayall was fabulous and BB King is just the most wonderful performer and man. It was a very moving experience.

I am afraid though that the journey home was a sad and surreal experience for as we drove along singing BB Tunes in our head and grinning to ourselves we turned on the radio and heard the news that Michael Jackson had died just a few hours earlier.

I can't really put into words how I feel at the moment, like thoasands of people around the world I know. I just wanted to mark the events of lastnight here and leave it at that for now. My wish for Michael is, as it always has been, this; I wish you peace and joy. To me it appeared they were things he never seemed to find.

Sky Watch Friday # 38

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers Day

I have a lot to thank my family for. I am lucky to be able to say that I have always enjoyed a close relationship with all of my family: my Mum is an angel, I am grateful that we share many dreams, talents and wishes and I strive to be as good a soul as she is, my Sister and I have enjoyed a wonderfully close relationship for most of our years...except a few years as young children when we fought, I was a pain as a younger sister but very soon we developed a close bond which I deeply treasure and she is an amazing woman and dedicated mother who inspires me to this day.

My Father has always been a hero figure to me, he is honest, strong, wise and very funny, and is a handsome devil. See, I told you!

So today I would like to pay tribute to my father by posting some songs for him. As regular visitors will know I love music, I think I would have always been a big music fan thanks to my parents genes!

However I owe my good taste in music to my family who started me out on a good track, encouraged me to play instruments, and to this day share their new descoveries with me.

There is nothing that compares with family. Despite any ups and downs that there may be there should be no one else who knows you as well, or loves you as dearly. Although I am not sure how my Dad will feel about me posting that picture! Hopefully he will be proud of himself!

So Dad this Top Ten is for you, I hope you enjoy it! ( I should add that my Dad has a much more comprehensive taste in music however these are some songs I remember enjoying with him over the years.)

Roxy and the God of Wind and Storms

Thanks to everyone who left a comment wishing Roxy a speedy recovery. I am thrilled to report that she is making small, daily improvements and is seeming much more herself which is just wonderful.

She can still only manage small walks but felt up to barking at the lawnmower today which we are taking as a good sign! (She has an aversion to appliances, in particular the lawn mower and the hoover, and if left alone with them will sometimes attack!)

Thanks also so Karen for the addition of a wind god to accompany my last Sky Watch Friday post.

Tawhirimatea, the Maori god of wind and storms. This is the story.

Tawhirimatea - Māori legend retold by Wiremu Grace, 2001

Tawhirimatea lived between the embrace of Ranginui and Papatuanuku as did the other children of his whānau. He liked living close to his parents. He could talk to his mother and, when he needed it, he could get advice from his father.

Tawhirimatea didn't mind the difficulties of living in continual darkness or that the space was so confined that he and his brothers had to crawl to get around. But the rest of the brothers had had enough.

A meeting was called and the majority of the brothers decided that their parents had to be separated.

Tumatauenga said, "Once they feel the blows of my patu they will soon loose their grip and we'll finally be free to walk upright and greet Tama-nui-te-ra, the sun."

Tawhirimatea disagreed, yelling his opposition so that all could hear. "How dare you! How dare you think of hurting our parents in such a way. They fed you, nurtured and raised you, and now you reward them with this?" He was very angry.

The brothers bowed their heads with shame, but Tumatauenga stood his ground. "We have asked them to separate, we have pleaded with them to let us see the light, but do they listen? No, this is the only way!"

He raised his patu to strike at his parents but Tawhirimatea was on him in a flash. They grappled and struggled in the darkness until finally Tanemahuta pleaded for quiet.

"Stop! Fighting will not resolve our problem. We have agreed that we cannot continue to live this way. I will try to push them apart without hurting them, to separate them with the gentle push of my arms."

The others agreed, but Tawhirimatea refused to support something that he didn't believe was right.

Firstly Tanemahuta braced his legs on Papatuanuku and pushed Ranginui with his arms. He used all his strength but could not push his parents apart.

"You cannot separate them," said Tawhirimatea. "Give it up, they are meant to be together!"

But Tanemahuta wasn't finished. He lay on his back, pulled his legs to his chest, then pushed from below. Slowly he pushed, but nothing happened. Again he pushed using all his strength, but still nothing happened. He took a breath and pushed once more. Releasing his breath and taking another he pushed again. A new surge of strength pumped through his body. At last there was movement.

Tawhirimatea roared with fury "No!"

But it was too late. Ranginui and Papatuanuku were forced apart and light filled the world. The brothers lay in shocked silence covering their eyes from the brightness of Tamanui Te Ra shinning down on their cowering bodies.

Tawhirimatea was the first to jump to his feet. He whipped at his brothers, dancing around them in anger.

"I will never let you rest for what you have done. Even your children will not be safe from my clutches! This will be my domain forever and you will always feel my wrath," Tawhirimatea yelled down at his brothers as he flew up to join his father.

Tawhirimatea kept his promise, and he continues to do so to this day. Sometimes he is content to listen to advice from his parents and forgive his siblings. On those days the weather is fine, clear, and calm.

But sometimes he is reminded of the pain his parents endured when they were separated and the longing they still have for each other. On those days he sends tornadoes, hurricanes, and cyclones to bring havoc to his brothers' lives and to hound their children.

Image Credit:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pup Update

It has been a difficult week in our house. One of our pups, Roxy, ate something on a walk on Wednesday morning which poisoned her.

We are very careful with them on walks as dogs will be dogs however in the mornings they go running with my fella and it was on this walk that we think it happened. She is never far out of site but then for a hungry dog it only takes a second! Needless to say we won't be doing that again!

Anyway, it has actually been very serious and we have been holding our breath, crossing fingers and toes, praying, and sleeping on the living room floor at night! Thankfully she seems to be over the worst. The vet kept her in for a day and she has been back for daily check ups but he thinks the worst of the poison is out of her system although her stomach is still suffering.

She is on special food and generally is not herself. It’s hard to relax but we have to create a calm environment for her to rest in and also have to consider Buddy, the other pup, who is confused and worried himself.

Dogs are very clever and he knows something is wrong. Every now and then he goes over and nuzzles her for a second.

I think it is going to be a slow recovery and she has more appointments booked in for check ups but I hope to report soon that she has made a full recovery and is back to her boisterous self!

The top picture is Roxy, and here they both are at Bodmin Moor in March 2009. We rented a cottage which had extensive gardens with it that they quickly made their own! Just their way of letting us know what kind of house and garden they would like when we win the lottery!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sky Watch 37# Gods of the West Wind

On a recent trip to Bodmin Moor I snapped this shot just before a particularly harsh storm care of the west wind. It brought snow for about an hour. I have looked up Gods of the West Wind to name this post and it would seem that there are a few!

Dagoda, Slavic god, Dajoji, Iroquois god, Favonius, Roman god, Kabun, Algonquin god, Ú-heponolo, Zuni god, Zephyros, Greek god, or maybe it was...

Mari, Basque goddess - Ruler of the Wind. Stribog, Slavic god - Grandfather of the Wind or Hanui-o-Rangi, Polynesian - Father of the Winds.

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Information Credit: Wind Gods by Charlotte Boyett-Compo

Friday, June 12, 2009

Let it Grow

This week has all been about planting for me. I have some extensive group restoration and formal planting schemes planned for this year and am ordering trees for delivery in the autumn.

I usually buy containerised trees and will be going to the nursery in July to pick out the specific trees I want.

The nursery are very good however if you leave it until they arrive on site it is difficult to go through them all and make sure there are no issues. Also when you are spending between £80 - £200 on a tree you want to make sure its the best of the bunch.

I went to one of the formal parks I manage yesterday to look at some trees that have been vandalised. They will need to be replaced in the autumn.

While I was there I took some pictures of the trees that have been establishing at the park. Some of these species I will be planting at other sites later in the year. The species shown here in order of appearance are: Giant Redwood or Wellingtonia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara), Blue Atlantic Cedar or Blue Atlas Cedar(Cedrus artlantica 'Glauca') and Giant Redwood again (Sequioadendron giganteum).

Tree planting is, as I have mentioned, the best part of my job and I am looking forward to getting the trees in and watching them develop in the coming years. I will not see them develop into maturity however if other people had not planted trees throughout the last few centuries I would not get to enjoy the mature treescapes I get to walk through. It is a legacy for the future.

Saturday, June 06, 2009


While visiting over at Bowledover I read about a new cloud that has been discovered called Asperatus. Bowledover can tell you more about it here.

It has still to be clarified as a completely new cloud form but either way it is very impressive and a little scary!

My thanks to Bowledover for the information and leading me to discover The Cloud Appreciation Society.

Image Credits: The Guardian

Rainy Days & Mondays

As you may be aware, if you have visited here before, music is a huge part of my life. I listen to music every where I can and when I can't I almost always have a song playing in my head (the old head juke box!).

It's a rainy day today and I have been treating myself to a You Tube session and healing a poor mood.

I love that thanks to the wonder of the internet there will never again be a song I cannot find whether it is something from way back or a new song I only know a few words to, with a few clicks I can find it.

This afternoon I have been visiting some old favourites that suited my mood. I have not posted everything I listened to but like to record some of the songs here to remind me.

The posts have gone up as I played them so I started with Garbage and finished up with Nick Harper. I was pleased to find this clip on You Tube as I was at this festival. You can actually see me briefly in the audience but only briefly. Anyway I hope you enjoy today's selection.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

What's the Best Thing about your Job?

As a consulting arborist or tree consultant I get to spend most of my time out and about and get involved in many aspects of tree management from inspection to recommending pruning or felling, writing reports and contracts, supervising contractors who undertake the works, implementing long term management plans for woodland or veteran tree management (ancient trees) but the best part of my job without a doubt is planting trees and then watching them grow!

Today I visited a formal park in a town that I use to manage and went to look at the trees I put in several years ago. There are groups of trees, formal planted areas and commemorative trees and I am delighted to say they are all doing very well.

It is now quite possible to imagine them in maturity and visualise the impact they will have on the park and the experience of walking round it.

Tomorrow I am visiting a woodland I manage with a group of school children. I have been asked to create an area suitable for them to use as an outside teaching area and as such have created a glade within a woodland with views of the nesting birds and other wildlife.

The glade has been lined with a membrane to deter weeds and covered in wood chip and I have placed several large logs in the glade to be used as chairs and desks.

I will not be there with them every week but am going down for their first visit tomorrow and hope to pop back from time to time.

I thought I would try and impart some tree knowledge to them, or if more appropriate give it to their teacher to talk to them about in the coming weeks.

As they are young children I thought I would keep it simple and start with 5 creatures that can live in trees: bats, birds, squirrels, bees, monkeys.

5 things that are good about trees: they clean our air, they make our parks look nice, they provide shade on hot days, some trees provide fruit to eat, and they are fun to climb.

I am really looking forward to it and think that it will be a great afternoon.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Night at the Cinema 2

Well that's one down! The trailer does not really do the film justice but I thought Night at the Museum 2 was excellent. Good story, good effects and all the old favourite characters. Ricky Gervais even managed to make me not cringe (not a fan!). If I had to criticise then it would be to say that not all of the new characters were great and I did not really rate Hank Azaria's performance, which is a big thing for me as I am a fan of his.

Anyway, all round a great film with a top feel good factor! 7/10


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