Tuesday, 4 July 2017


I witnessed the aftermath of a murder a few days ago.  The body was cordoned off behind yellow tape and bits of the corpse lay about on the surrounding grass.  The victim?  A tree I'd known from when I was 7 years old, situated in a far corner of the grounds of my old primary school.  I'd seen it only the week before, I'm sure, and had been glad to note it still guarding its space, but just a short time later it was dead and dismembered, and yet another old friend from childhood had bitten the dust.

I presume it must've been diseased, hence the tape around it warning people to keep their distance in case branches fell onto them, or the old tree collapsed on top of someone.  Still, it was yet alive when the chainsaw made its first cut into its trunk and it must've felt each burning blow.  It's at peace now, though I miss it standing like a sentinel in the grounds of my old school, which is actually now a new school as the old one was demolished (and replaced) a few years back, yet another victim of time.

The base of the tree and its roots remain in the ground however, and maybe new shoots will sprout from it, as I've seen happen with other trees.  I once saw one that had been shattered by lightning and wasn't much more than a husk, but after several years, it grew back to its former glory.  I have 'before and after' photos somewhere, which I'll post whenever I find them, so that's something for all you Criv-ites to look forward to.  (He said modestly, ever the optimist.)

Some of you may wonder why I mark the passing of this tree, but it's like seeing yet another piece of my childhood being consigned to the dustbin of history, and with that comes the chilling reminder that my time to join them isn't so far away as it once was.


Incidentally, I was standing at the foot of this tree (perhaps even clambering over its lower trunk) when my primary school dinner-bell rang on the day that this incident occurred back in the 1960s. 


paul Mcscotty said...

You are a complicated and deep man Kid : ) Meant to say I enjoyed your stories I just haven’t had time to comment as working and travelling (and knackered)

Kid said...

I know. In fact, I'm so deep, PM, that sometimes even I don't know what I'm trying to say. Once you're not so knackered, I'll look forward to receiving your guest post.

Anonymous said...

If the tree was diseased you can't call it murder - more like euthanasia. My school had two lovely cherry-blossom trees and the headmaster and governers ordered them chopped down - now THAT was murder. If some kids had broken in during the night and chopped down the trees it would have been condemned as wanton vandalism but when the headmaster does it that's fine !

John Pitt said...

( Hint, hint! )
Ha ha!

John Pitt said...

We have an old oak tree out the front of our house that was planted in medieval times! Actually, it's a mini eco system to all kinds of life forms!
I would HATE for it to get diseased and have to be cut down! ( Despite all the mess it makes! )
I don't actually mind the mess!
The wife does!
That could be because I very kindly allow her to clean it all up, thus giving her a sense of purpose!

Kid said...

Well, some people call euthanasia murder, CJ, but I don't know for sure that the tree was diseased, that's only my assumption. (And the tree wasn't 'put to sleep', it was butchered.) Perhaps it was just old with branches falling off, so they decided to remove it. Remember, euthanasia is still illegal in a lot of countries, including America. Anyway, it was a tree from my childhood and I'll miss it.


That wasn't a hint, JP, that was just a reminder. And as for wives, well, that's what men are here for (apart from to pay for everything and carry the shopping) - to give their wives a sense of purpose.

John Pitt said...

I witnessed a murder on our village green once. But I didn't do anything about it. The vicar was walking past and he didn't do anything about it either! EVEN the village bobby who was cycling past didn't do a single thing!
Why not?

Anonymous said...

John's two comments are in the wrong order - well, they are on my screen.

Anonymous said...

No, now I understand - it's late !!

Kid said...

Because you were the murderer? Because it was someone shooting a rabbit? Because it was a kid 'murdering' an ice cream? Because it was a murder mystery play performed on the village green? Because it was a seagull 'murdering' a pigeon? Do tell, JP.


Well, I publish them in the order I receive them, CJ. Try pressing your screen's 'refresh' button.

John Pitt said...

Because it was a murder of crows!

Kid said...

And your comment came in after I answered the previous one from you, CJ. That's weird.


I should have known that, JP, particularly because I read or heard the description 'a murder of crows' somewhere recently. I remembered the second I read your answer.

John Pitt said...

That's strange!
Your answer came up before I asked you the question?

Kid said...

With all the murdering that's been going on around here, JP, maybe we're haunted. (Cue for you to look at my latest post.)

Phil S said...

If I was dropping limbs on people because I was so sick my limbs were falling off perhaps it would be for the best just saying. Also happy 4th of July to all the Americanos out there. Those two sentences are entirely unrelated. As far as I can tell.

Kid said...

'If' being the operative word, PS, because I just don't know. I was merely imagining a possible reason. As it was in a far corner of the grounds with a high fence around it though, it was no longer easily accessible. (The photo is of the actual tree.)

John Smith said...

Thank you for marking the death of a tree Kid.

I once had the unpleasant experience of witnessing a man ripping down an old tree in a a park in Doncaster with the spade of a large yellow mechanical digger. It was brutal. And disturbingly violent. I don't know how anyone could be party to such an action. I could only stand and watch for a while but I could still hear the creaking and cracking and ripping even when I was out of sight.

I remember my commute into London in the 90s where a row of houses and part of a green was being 'removed' to facilitate a new underpass. The 250 year old sweet chestnut tree on the green was also killed. I remember the protesters (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M11_link_road_protest) everyday as I passed and wished I could have joined them instead of working in an office. Still, I tooted my horn to show support when they asked me to.

My neighbours all hate my garden because it's so wild and trees are allowed to grow as much as possible. They've already cut 6 ft off two small trees growing just inside my boundary. I hate their gardens because they are just outdoor rooms for barbecues and games. No room for wildlife.

There were several important trees in my childhood, now all gone. Three of them were in the grounds of an old vicarage in the Yorkshire village where I grew up.

One was an ancient horse chestnut that hung out over the junction of two roads. It wasn't climbable but we kids had a ritual of claiming all the conkers that dropped all over the roads.

The second was an old pear tree in the interior of the grounds, growing at a 45 degree angle which made it relatively easy to climb. The pears were small, hard and bitter though.

The third was a huge maple which stood just inside the retaining boundary wall which meant the ground inside was about 6 ft above the surrounding road level. It had one huge horizontal limb and a large round protuberance into which some bright spark had driven a large flat nail thus presenting us kids with our first experience of a simulated female breast.

The vicarage was demolished and is long gone. The gardens/grounds, including the three trees, were razed to allow development of 3 or 4 'luxury' homes. I've been back several times and.. it's just not the place I grew up. I miss it all and I often wonder just when those trees died. Where was I? What was I doing? How could I not know?

I visited a number of places that I used to play and found some trees that I remembered, still surviving. The pub was demolished and the land behind it is earmarked for development again so it's probably just a matter of time though. I hate the development of green places and I hate change, especially when it's just to accommodate more people, as if there aren't enough on the planet already.

Life is shit and I miss the 60s and 70s.

Kid said...

Reading your comment, JS, geographical locations aside, I felt that I had written it because I can relate to all of it, especially the last part. Trouble is, it's far too easy for people to breed, so that's what they do. My town is a 'new' town that was built to house Glasgow overspill. It was designed with large open green spaces to give the residents a sense of space and freedom after having to endure the crowded conditions of Glasgow tenement schemes. Around 30 years ago, some bright spark decided to re-designate fields and play areas as 'underdeveloped land', and now most of them have had houses and flats built on them, rendering the neighbourhoods cramped and suffocating, with former views of the far horizons obscured forever. As for the amount of trees that were chopped down in the process - well, don't get me started. I don't know if you saw my post from last week or so (maybe the week before that, can't remember) about 16 trees having being removed from around or near my former neighbourhood, but I was absolutely gutted. Fortunately, I took photos of them some years ago, so at least their images survive in pictorial form.

I miss the '60s and '70s too.

Anonymous said...

But what is the alternative, Kid ? People having nowhere to live or living in high-rise death traps like Grenfell Tower ? I hate the idea of trees being chopped down too (see my first comment) but people have to live somewhere - your attitude is rather nimbyish. Unless we drastically reduce the population (not a bad idea...but how ?) we are going to need more houses.

Kid said...

That's the alternative, CJ - reduce the population. Murderers, rapists, child molesters, criminal junkies, etc. "Roll up your sleeve and we're going to give you a little jab. You won't feel a thing and you'll have a nice long sleep." We can't just go on building more and more houses for a rising population that's only going to increase, because couples in houses breed and then we eventually need even more houses to accommodate their offspring. We can't go on doing that indefinitely, or eventually they'll be no countryside or fields left. I'm not a Nimby, I'm a Niaby - Not in anyone's back yard.

Anonymous said...

We need an age limit of 70 - if nobody lived beyond 70 that would be a huge benefit for society.

Kid said...

Logan's Run. Nah, we just need not so many people breeding until they're in their mid to late 20s, and then having no more than 2 kids per family. I want to live to 170 (at least).

John Smith said...

Speaking of people whose absence would make the world a better place.. this just happened.

My ex-wife is staying in Wales in a suburban area that has some lovely natural areas of woodland and fields and a river that has been cleaned up recently and is now perfectly clear with regular sightings of ringlet butterflies and kingfishers.

I visited her last week and while we were walking the woodland path beside the river we found, by chance, a great tit nest which had been built into the hollow of a tree trunk. Nicely protected from the elements but, unfortunately, only two feet off the ground and on the edge of a small clearing on the river bank normally frequented by one or two fishermen or groups of yoots, as evidenced by the collection of abandoned empty lager cans.

There were six noisy chicks visible in the nest, still with their eyes closed and about 7-10 days old. They only needed another 10 days or so to fledge but we weren't sure they'd make it. I had to leave but my wife kept checking on them during her walks. The last time she saw them was midday last Friday but on Saturday she found that the nest had been attacked.

The soft wood around the hole had been broken or kicked to allow a hand inside. There were bottles and cans around the tree base so pretty sure it wasn't a non-human predator. The nest was empty but the parent birds were still arriving back with caterpillers in their beaks. No sign of any bodies so the scumbag yoots probably just threw them in the river or fed them to their dogs or just tortured them for the sake of it. And probably filmed it on their phones as well.

Across the river is an area that is known as pretty rough. The sound of police helicopters at weekends is normal. The footpath leading to that area is locked with large metal gates after residents complained about increased robberies (which stopped after the gates were brought in). Air rifles have been fired from across the river at people (including me) on the footpath. Yoots openly deal drugs on the streets and, a few weeks ago, my wife found police had taped off an area of the path near the river while forensics investigated reports of a possible baby's body in the river. She later found out that it was suspected to be the skinned body of a small animal.

Yet these people have rights, to housing, to benefits, to all the protection that society can offer. Why? The world doesn't need people like this. There's enough evidence of the link between animal cruelty and later psychopathic behaviour. The mantra that we need to build more housing (by developing green areas, esp woodland) because the population is increasing is flawed.

In a similar vein, I once posted the following on my blog: "..However, I think this story from the BBC, illustrates a perfect example of stupidity:


"Dr Mart Gross, of the University of Toronto, used to oppose the idea of GM crops and animals. Now he has changed his mind. Feeding the human population, he says, must come first, and GM animals and plants may help.

'We need to double food production,' he says. 'We currently have a global population of almost seven billion and we are looking at nine, 10 or 11 billion by 2050.

'Where is that food going to come from? We have to produce more from less.'"

Of course there are probably very rational arguments in support of such a position and equally rational arguments in opposition. My own response? What a fucking stupid position.

"Feeding the human population must come first." & "We need to double food production."

No. Reducing the human population should come first. & No. We need to halve the human population. (In any case, I thought the problem wasn't a shortage of food but unequal distribution.)

I get so frustrated. I cannot express myself adequately or eloquently when confronted with stupidity such as this."

Sorry for the length of this comment Kid, I really should get blogging again.

Kid said...

Yeah, it annoys me that some people presume that the human race should have a priority over everything else, not realising that we'd all have a better quality of life if there were fewer of us. The countryside, the environment, other species, etc., are all necessary in some way and benefit humans in the long run. Totally agree that we should be reducing the human population, not encouraging it to get bigger and becoming a bigger drain on the planet. At this rate, Mega-City One will be a reality (and the norm) before we know it. Feel free to make your comments as long as you want, JS - they've all been worth reading so far.

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