Trees

There are two things that I adore. Trees and Chester-le-Street. I love them both but if you were to make me choose between them trees would always win. There is something mystical and transfixing about trees that I really love. They are massive. They are sensible enough to cut back on energy use in the winter and then when the warmer weather starts up they will then burst back into life.

I have two trees in my garden the first is a cherry tree that was planted in the year that I moved to my current house. It faithfully blossoms each year and provides rest and space for some of the visiting birds within the garden.

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The other tree is a Victoria plum. I bought it years ago from a garden centre who were selling them off cheaply as the poor thing looked like it was on its last legs. It has thrived in my garden and each year displays the most beautiful of blossom. It provides me with satisfaction knowing that I could grow a plum tree well despite my parents telling me years ago that the north east climate was too cold to sustain a fruit baring tree.

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It was this in mind I was intrigued to read in the Chester-le-Street Advertiser that land that once held the local voluntary bureau and other charitable organisations was being sold off and that a construction company was going to build houses. My concern is that the beautiful trees that grow there will be cut down or mauled as they have been previously in other areas that Durham County council have sold.

You can see here the trees that stand on this plot and some of them have been clearly marked by spray paint.

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Here you can also see the outcome of the council decimating the trees that once stood on land that occupied a council run nursing home. I hope that the council will think clearly about the impact that this causes on the aesthetics and most importantly the environment in Chester-le-Street.

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These trees could survive this mauling but I believe there future has already been earmarked. I would like my town to look like the trees that stand opposite the closed nursing home rather that a post-apocalyptic war zone.

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Ostara

I had the misfortune of reading an article in The Sun ‘newspaper’ the other day that claimed that Easter eggs had been banned. They hadn’t. It was just another atrocious attempt by the right wing gutter press to get a reaction from the idiots that actually believe what is written in this so-called newspaper.

Christians have been bouncing up and down like demented Easter bunny’s today. At every moment I have looked on social media they are ready to implore that a preacher that lived two thousand years ago defied all laws of biology and science and came back to life after being brutality killed in an act of crucifixion. A version of a  Frankenstein’s monster is somehow seen as a way of getting rid of the worlds problems by delivering us from own thoughts and actions.

In my ‘christian’ days I would have been proclaiming this. I would have stood proudly in the middle of my town acting out some play or singing some songs thinking that I would be able to change the world and imploring others to join me. It was all a futile process.

I believe that looking at the changes of the world around us we should be thankful that plants are begging to waken from their winter sleep and animals will produce young at a time when in the northern hemisphere marks Vernal Equinox.

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Ostara or Eostra is an Anglo-Saxon goddess who represents dawn. It is a new awakening. She oversees the fertility of the earth and watches over births. The egg is the perfect symbol of fertility and Christians and non-so believers will incorporate this into Easter celebrations without really realising it’s pagan origins.

I love the beginning of spring as you can see blossom on the trees and daffodils rising up from the cold ground to give us hope of the forthcoming of time when new life appears all around us.

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January Blues

So we have established that the England Cricket Team aren’t brilliant at the moment. That Evander Holyfield is an ignorant man. That bad weather only gets reported if it hits the south. Football remains a bit shit and Christmas and New Year fun seem to be a distant memory.

One thing that has rattle my ageing teeth is the governments plan to flatten ancient woodland and put up revolting new houses in their attempt to stem the problem of Britain’s chronic housing shortage. More people than ever are living on their own (like myself) the population has undoubtedly risen. But really it is necessary to build on ancient woodland?

The argument for this is “biodiversity offsetting” – planting more trees in replacement for those you have chopped down. But who cares about the irreplaceable habitat to Britain’s wildlife especially when there has been a concerted campaign over the past few years to encourage the wildlife back into our own gardens. According to 70’s screechy folk singer Joni Mitchell “We paved paradise and put up a parking lot”.

You only have to look at some of the major development that took place in the 1960’s to see what some town planner have done to destroy our cities.

Houses should be built in areas that are brownfield sites. I heard that the argument against that is some of areas needed cleaning up first. So for the sake of the profits of the investors and contractors it is cheaper to tear down woodland rather than making use of areas that are desperate for redevelopment.

I wonder if in a hundred years time the people will look at our generation and despair at the mismanagement of the country?

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Still grumpy

Gari Wellingham

UK-based musical theatre geek previously living with a brain tumour!