WOODCHOPPER’S BALL.

 

I have become somewhat dilatory on the walking front despite the fact that we are allowed out more. There is nothing to stop me from driving up to Langdale and climbing the Pikes. Nothing that is except common sense. I posted a few days ago a piece from the Coniston MRT advising against fellwalking at the moment. I think I’ve become disorientated by the confusing Governments announcements giving us greater freedom and others telling us to stay at home. The death rates seem to be staying high so stay at home is the obvious choice.

At the back of my garden 40years ago I planted trees to give shelter and some privacy, They have grown to 30 or 40ft and need their crowns taking out before they grow any bigger.

Now is the time. Actually, it isn’t the best while the trees are in leaf but there you go.

Out come the ladders and the bow saw. I’m very much aware of not having an accident in these lockdown times so I securely fix my ladders, top and bottom. My climbing harness is brought into action to prevent any tumbles from a great height.

The trees have lost some limbs but suffice to say I’m typing this with all my limbs intact.

After a couple of days sawing and pruning, shredding and logging I’ve spread a decent amount of wood chippings as a mulch on my flower beds and have a nice pile of logs for my log burner next winter.

Following on from Woody Herman’s rendition above [was Woody a common factor?]  another old favourite tune came to mind –  Woodman Spare That Tree sang by Phil Harris, a regular on Saturday morning’s  Uncle Mac’s Favourites on the radio’s Light Programme back in the ’50s.  Uncle Mac would play tunes requested by children who were thrilled if their name was read out on the radio – he never played any of mine.

 

I’ve just found out that the above quirky tune was based on an original poem by George Pope Morris, 1802-64.  Set to music in 1837 by Henry Russell. It is one of the earliest known songs to champion a social cause, in this case, the preservation of nature.

Woodman, spare that tree!
⁠Touch not a single bough!
In youth it sheltered me,
⁠And I’ll protect it now.
‘Twas my forefather’s hand
⁠That placed it near his cot;
There, woodman, let it stand,
⁠Thy ax shall harm it not.

That old familiar tree,
⁠Whose glory and renown
Are spread o’er land and sea—
⁠And wouldst thou hew it down?
Woodman, forbear thy stroke!
⁠Cut not its earth-bound ties;
Oh, spare that agèd oak
⁠Now towering to the skies!

When but an idle boy,
⁠I sought its grateful shade;
In all their gushing joy
⁠Here, too, my sisters played.
My mother kissed me here;
⁠My father pressed my hand—
Forgive this foolish tear,
⁠But let that old oak stand.

My heart-strings round thee cling,
⁠Close as thy bark, old friend!
Here shall the wild-bird sing,
⁠And still thy branches bend.
Old tree! the storm still brave!
⁠And, woodman, leave the spot;
While I’ve a hand to save,
⁠Thy ax shall harm it not.

I despair at the trees cut down in our village to make way for developments. I hope that the pruning I’ve done the last few days will ensure my mature trees will survive for many more years long after I’ve gone.

 

 

 

11 thoughts on “WOODCHOPPER’S BALL.

  1. Eunice

    It sounds like a couple of good productive days, I’m glad you survived with both your own limbs intact 🙂

    I remember Uncle Mac’s Children’s Favourites from the early 60s, he seemed to be forever playing Nellie The Elephant, Teddy Bears’ Picnic and Changing Guard At Buckingham Palace. My mum would always put the programme on for me thinking I would like it – she was wrong, I hated it! 😦

    Reply
      1. Eunice

        1933 and it ran until 1992 – I didn’t think it was so old. We didn’t have a tv until the mid 60s so I was brought up on music which probably explains my wide ranging tastes from light classical through easy listening and 60s, 70s and 80s pop and disco to 90s trance. Remember Radio Caroline?

        Reply
          1. Eunice

            One thing I can’t stand – jazz. It’s not music, it’s just a load of improvised noise. I can’t play any musical instruments but give me a piano and I could do a pretty good improvised jazz piece 🙂

            Reply

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