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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

The day Storm Doris came to my garden...

The two stories of the day nationally and locally last Thursday were Storm Doris and the sacking of Leicester City's manager Claudio Ranieri.

The winds of change caused havoc in Leicestershire and Rutland. Householders, gardeners and motorists were affected by the storm, and Leicester City fans of all ages were struggling to hold back the tears over the sudden  sacking of King Claudio, who has hero status in these here parts.

I have to say I think Claudio was a breath of fresh air...I loved his passion for the game, his catchphrases, and above all his sheer graciousness. He will be missed by many, and a couple of hundred people turned up to a peaceful march last night organised by an eleven year old to lament his leaving .

But I'm lamenting the loss of my lovely old ash tree in my garden.Yes, it's was Doris's fault.
It was such a blustery day - earlier that morning I'd tweeted that I'd been blown into a fence while walking my two dogs Boo and Eric. I also said I was nervously eyeing my ash tree and my neighbour's oak and lime trees.

Later that afternoon, there  was a flurry of texts while I was at work....from Julie first of all, "Bridget , I think your tree's coming down....", the next one was from my son, "Mum,  the  ******* tree has come down!" Yes, there was a quite rude adjective before the word tree, but when I saw the extent  of the damage later, I forgave him. I even used the word myself.

One of the huge branches was ripped from the trunk, but was caught on a lower branch which is where it lay suspended

Meanwhile there were lots of smaller branches on the grass a mere four feet away from my kitchen window

Tom, our friendly tree surgeon, couldn't get over until Saturday with his team. When they arrived, they assessed the tree. Heads were shaken, the verdict wasn't good. The tree was doomed, and work began to make it safe. It wasn't just a question of felling some of the branches to make it secure....they pointed to where water has got into the main trunk. The whole tree would have to come down.


This is where the main trunk was wrenched from the tree ... there must have been some mighty gusts of wind to do that.
I nipped out to take a few photos but it was raining, windy and cold, so I retreated to the kitchen with a hot cup of coffee to watch 

I marvelled at how the tree surgeon hoisted himself up, higher and higher, swinging on ropes  as he cut down branches slowly and methodically .


He moved even higher, I could hardly bear to watch...

 Then Tom got an urgent call ...he had to get out to a situation involving trees and BT as a matter of urgency.  I understood, he'd been covering emergencies all day, and there was another.
So, the tree stays like the photo above for a few more days. The branches and debris are all over the lawn, meanwhile the dogs have had great fun, running laps around the tree like they always have done, but they're now jumping the branches like hurdles.
All I can do is look out at what remains of a proud ash tree which was planted around ninety years ago. Sophie, my neighbour who lived across the lane remembered the event....she was born in her cottage and lived there all her life until she died in her late nineties about seven years ago.
Our cottage was formerly two so there were two gardens. One of the owners planted the ash tree much to chagrin of his next door neighbour. According to Sophie, "They didn't stop moaning for weeks about how daft it was to put such large tree in such a small garden , and what about my light?"

Yes, the tree did provide fact on really hot days it was lovely to sit under it, especially for lunch..

Our children played on the tree for hours when they were small. We had a tyre and a swing suspended from its branches. My daughter remembers climbing the tree for the first time, and my eldest son taking away the ladder. She was terrified and was up there for ages apparently. Meanwhile, the ladder remover himself had no fear of heights, even when he was really young, and I had to run outside on many occasions to get him to descend safely and not jump down.

Anyway, Tom will be coming back soon to remove the rest of the tree trunk, and at least we will have a good store of logs. However I can't help but remember the tree in its hey day with fondness and sadness.

My husband is now calling it the Ranieri they were both done for on the same day.



  1. Sorry to hear about the loss of your ash tree. I understand how you're feeling as I went through the same experience during the storms of October 2015. There was an ash tree that stood at the back of our house but was situated on the boundary of several gardens and it came down - must have been during the night as we lost several tiles off the roof as well. I'd walked up the garden in the morning but didn't notice anything as I was otherwise preoccupied. I then went out in the afternoon and noticed the great big gap on the horizon. I loved it because it was a woodpecker magnet. I work at the back of the garden a lot and loved to hear them tapping away and would spend a few minutes trying to locate these birds. With the tree gone the woodpeckers have moved on and the horizon has never looked the same since even though my eyes have slowly refocused. One of our neighbours at the back said they'd lived there for 40 years and expected the tree to come down at any time. Like you I think of it as the winds of change and just comfort myself that at some point, when we get round to it, we'll plant some fruit and other 'smaller' trees and still have those beautiful memories.

    1. hi..sorry you lost your tree too. I like the sound of fruit trees...but I really haven't got as far as thinking what inwill do to replace the tree. I will have a ponder....meanwhile it really doesn't seem the same in the garden!