Saturday, 12 January 2013
My friend and fellow blogger Perpetua of "Perpetually in Transit" fame has some photographs of her local trees in her latest post which illustrate several of the things I feel about trees.
Not least of these, is the sense that at some angles, and in some circumstances, trees might just not be quite as immobile as they appear.
Many years ago I was in the WRAC based at Shrivenham, some four miles or so from Swindon.
At that time, we (the females at The Royal Military College of Science) were allowed a weekend a month away from the base.
As most of us were 20 or less years old, we mostly used this weekend break to travel home to our families.
Along with just one or two others, I used to get a 'free' seat on the coach from RAF Watchfield, just down the road, into Swindon where I picked up my coach or train home, and returned by the same route.
Imagine my shock one Sunday evening, arriving in Swindon to discover that the RAF 'boys' had been told to return on Saturday, and there was thus no coach.
This was at about 11.30pm and there was no other transport, so, I did what I had to, and set out to walk.
Not something I would even contemplate for a second these days, but, being young, fit and (relatively) fearless I started walking at a good pace, soon leaving the edge of the town behind, and striking into open country.
It was, fortunately Summer time and there was a good moon to see by. Nevertheless, as the lanes narrowed and the hedgerows closed in, I quickened my pace and walked down the middle of the lane to avoid the shadows as much as possible.
Several hours (it seemed) later, and still with no sign of another human being, I was feeling distinctly nervous particularly when oddly shaped trees, and bare trunks of long dead ones, loomed up at strange angles over the road ahead.
There was very little traffic on the roads in those days, and no-one deemed it necessary to cut down dead trees, so they remained, huge and menacing looming over the landscape until some land owner or farmer decided to remove them.
Knowing I could be only about three-quarters of a mile from the camp I suddenly saw ahead of me, what appeared to be a tall thin man leaning across the road ahead. Heart in my mouth I approached slowly and had just realised to my immense relief that it was a bare tree branch when suddenly, out of nowhere a man on a bike, without a headlamp came towards me.
My heart was hammering as he dismounted and said "You're out late, where are you headed?".
To my massive relief I saw that he was in uniform, had three stripes and was wearing the REME badge on his shoulder.
When I said "Becket" he turned his bike and said "I'll walk you back".
Recounting this to my mother some months later, she was horrified that I had just accepted that since he was in uniform he must be OK. When she made me promise never to take such a risk again, I replied that the only thing which had really rattled me that night, was the menacing trees.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 3:02:00 pm