It was late yesterday afternoon when it struck me. Sitting in this very chair I was worrying away at a problem. Something was different. Very different. And suddenly, there it was, gone! The tree. Regular readers will recall a recent post in which I showed you this view:
I used a wider lens but look in the bottom left hand corner. You can just see the stump of a tree. We are transformed! Now I have very mixed feelings about this. Certainly the timing is bad. This tree would certainly have had nesting birds. Probably common species but nesting nonetheless. It was full of insects and insects are interesting to me in their own right. They also constitute a fast food outlet for the birds. There is no obvious reason to cut down the tree. The act was almost certainly illegal as the tree is on government land and is not owned in deed by the residents.
To the good we now have more light and a much wider vista. I am sure birds will perch on the stump and give me the occasional photo-opportunity. And as the stump (plus a bit more) remains it may well grow back over many years. I conclude that perhaps I am happy with the new view but would have done this brutal surgery only in Winter when the birds do not nest.
It is good to be back in the Land of Blog. I recall with great fondness Noggin the Nog. Perhaps I should adopt the nom de plume Thor Blogson. I offer today a few more snaps from London. Each time I leave Hong Kong it emphasises to me how bad is our air quality. Older Brits will remember Britain’s awful air when dirty coal was the predominant fuel and little care was given to what we could tip into our rivers. The result was winters of smog and what were euphemistically called ‘pea soupers‘, a toxic recipe of fog, soot and sulphur dioxide. I well remember the chimney sweep coming to our house. I was just too old to be sent up the chimney myself. Chim chim cheree. Last week London’s air was bracing but clean. I could feel a little sting of cold in my lungs. I was happy though to inhale deeply and enjoy it. Apart from the move away from dirty fuels central London has benefited from a reduction in traffic. This has been brought about by the introduction of a congestion charge. If you wish to drive in central London you may do so but you will pay handsomely for it. Residents are exempted of course. Vehicles pollute less too. It is a stark lesson in how negligent the HK government is as it permits our sad state to persist. It cannot be blamed for everything. Much of it is airborne and a gift from Comrade Big Brother just over the border. I put the HK government’s attitude into the category ‘benign contempt’.
And finally a reminder to those out there who think 200 years or so of history is a lot. I suspect the plaque is a little more contemporary than Gregory de Rokesley but I was impressed that he was Mayor of London eight times. Of course he never had to stand against Ken Livingstone or Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. The latter is allegedly the Prime Minister in waiting and the former is a keeper of newts. I suspect the court jester Johnson may be a better man than the salamanderist. We could exhume GdR for a ninth run at mayor if Boris occupies Number Ten.
And there I must leave you. I am now treeless but with a lungful of particulates.