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November 2005 - The Missing TreeIt was back at the beginning of this year, if my memory serves me rightly, that I was bemoaning the fact that some months simply aren't long enough for a proper dose of Comment writing.
Well, here we are at the end of the longest month of the year, yet even thirty one days and one hour doesn't seem to have been nearly long enough on this particular occasion.
I think what we need is a complete calendarial rethink, you know. Sixty day months might just be the right length for Nick Harvey at the moment; then I might just be able to fit everything in.
Well, I've been rushing about the country, or multiple countries to be strictly precise, like a thing possessed, you see, madam. Hardly a spare moment to call my own.
I spent the other Saturday in a lift. Well, not the whole of the Saturday, you understand, but long enough to get thoroughly fed up with the three year old child screaming at me at regular intervals that the "doooooooors are closin'", to be as accurate as possible with the quote.
I wouldn't have minded too much, but the above was the second utterance on each occasion, the first being exactly the same information, but in Welsh. It was one of those, wonderful, bilingual lifts, you see.
What on earth persuaded the person in charge of elevation, at this branch of the huge corporation which I was visiting, to employ a three year old child to record all the lift messages is totally beyond me; especially as I'm pretty sure there are many other quite well spoken persons working in that particular building.
I'd best not mention the name of the corporation, for fear of reprisals; he says, gently tapping nose with forefinger, in a sad, Jeffrey Archer sort of way.
Anyway, talk about digressing before even starting. I haven't even got round to welcoming you as yet, have I? Well, this is Comment and you're welcome to it, to over use an over used old joke over again.
Actually, I was reminded to re-use that one a little earlier this afternoon. Bringing brown chap, leg at each corner, tail at the back, back from his afternoon constitutional, I passed our local Morrisons, which used to be Safeway till the other weekend, but reopened the following Thursday under its new livery.
There's a huge new sign at the entrance to their car park, saying "Welcome to Morrisons", or, at least, it did till last night, I suspect. Some wag with a graffiti-sized pot of white paint had added "You're" to the beginning of the message.
How true; how very, very true! These northerners just DON'T know how to run supermarkets, do they?
So anyway, before I wander off again, I suppose I ought to try to get to somewhere approaching the subject for this month's load of old codswallop, didn't I?
A couple of weeks prior to my visit to the lifts of welsh Wales, I found myself in the south of english England. To be precise, I was proceeding about my way between Blandford Forum and Wimborne Minster in what used to go under the title of the county of Dorset, but I understand, has now been ripped up and regurgitated as a load of unitary authorities with meaningless and totally forgettable names.
Along the stretch of road near the Badbury Rings, known to brown chap, leg at each corner, as the Cadbury Rings, because he likes things to be named after him, you see, are a load of trees.
Yes madam, I know there are usually loads of trees along the side of the road, but these are a bit special, you see.
For some reason best know to some ancient forester who must have planted them, there are two rows of beeches, one on each side of the road, stretching, I'm told, to 365 on one side and 366 on the other.
Something to do with the days of the year, I suppose, but the limited time I've had remaining this month for essential research has not got me very much further with any greater detail, I'm afraid.
It's extremely clear, from the tiny amount of research I did get to do, that, as stated, there were originally 365 on one side and 366 on the other. I expect the odd one or two have toppled over since the original planting date, but there don't appear to be very many gaps as you drive down between them.
The trees have been carefully planted at equidistant intervals, so any gaps in the rows are patently obvious as you pass by. I mention this fact for a very important reason, which will soon become clear.
The National Trust own Kingston Lacy, just down the road, and I suspect they also own the rows of trees.
Why is it that huge corporations and other organisations now have this fixation with giving everything they own a number, and usually putting a sticky label on everything they own with its asset number printed on it?
Well, as we were driving down through the avenue of beeches a few Sundays ago, I started to notice the pleasant, afternoon sunshine glinting off some metallic looking objects, about five feet up each of the trees and a little way away from each trunk.
After a while, my curiosity got the better of me and we pulled in so I could investigate. I walked over to one of the trees, and, sure enough, it had a metal label, complete with number, affixed by about six inches of wire and a nail into the trunk.
I hugged poor number NT A0568, as I thought he must be feeling quite sad, with a nail hammered deep into his bark, so no vandal could ever pull it out.
He's been stood standing there, minding his own business, not doing anyone any harm for a few hundred years, then some jobsworth tree counter from the National Trust comes along and gives him a number. How utterly stupid!
Have the National Trust gone round the whole country numbering every one of their trees, I wonder? Have the National Trust gone completely round the bloomin' twist, I wonder?
If someone steals you car, okay, you can go down to the local police station and say that TP05 ACG has been stolen and would they, kindly, go and look for it, can't you?
I can just see Mr N T Jobsworth walking into the plod shop and asking them to go out and find NT A0568 if it got pinched, though.
Imagine the front page headline in the local rag, "One of our trees is missing". The police would have to walk around the town with a megaphone shouting "Come in number tree, your time is up".
What on earth do the Trust think they'll achieve by numbering all their trees, apart from all the damage done with the nails?
What a complete waste of time, money and energy. I'll take a pound to a pinch of doggy-doo, that if our friend the tree does decide to go missing, he'll be hiding down at the timber yard, and nobody will ever find him in there.
So there you are, then, madam. There's still an hour or so of the month left, before I have to press the big button and publish this epic to you good people out there. I managed it in the end, you see.
Just a quick proof read, a touch of spoll chacker and a hint of alternate colours for the paragraphs, to delight dear old Mr Panda Eyes, then I can concentrate on the delights of another month. I suppose it'll be the Christmas edition next time round, that's on the assumption I haven't gone barking mad by then.
Until December the 1st, then, dear viewers. I trust you'll all join me again for that one. Right, I'm off, where's me chainsaw?
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