So after a sustained burst of about ten minutes snow this morning that didn’t settle, we’re back to sunshine and blue skies, so I guess that’s it for winter around here. This year has been so mild that we’ve had daffodils flowering near us since January…
This afternoon we had a visit from the tree surgeon, to take a look at the tree we have at the end of our back garden.
I say a tree – however the tree surgeon was less polite, as he doesn’t really class it as a tree! Essentially what we have is a stump of an Ash tree, but over the years a large number of new stems have grown up out of the old stump. You can see in the picture here, taken last year, quite how much it has grown up. As the tree surgeon said, what we have is a lot of relatively small stems, but hooked up to the extensive root system of a large tree, all of which contributes to a pretty spectacular growth rate. However, what you have to factor in is that the stems have relatively little strength, so are growing beyond what they can really support, and ultimately will snap off.
As a result, it needs to be periodically cut back in order to keep the whole thing safe, and that is what was going on this afternoon.
The fact that it is all stems gives the tree surgeon a bit of a problem though, as to get to the upper reaches of the tree, he needs to climb it – and since these aren’t the strongest stems, it’s quite a job, involving a lot of safety ropes running across multiple stems for strength.
Having said that, it was an impressive thing to watch, as the pretty well built tree surgeon climbed his way up the tree with his chain-saw.
He started off taking out completely some of the smaller, less well attached stems. He then also took out some of the low hanging branches that in summer obstruct the pavement behind the house. From there he went up to top of the tree and cleared the smaller branches from the top, taking about a third off the overall height of the tree. From there it was some tidying up further down, and then finally taking out a couple of the remaining major stems – some of which he’d just climbed – in order to thin out the tree. The one final task was to cut out the bottom reaches of the ivy that is rapidly climbing some of the main stems, as this will also add to the weight.
Looking at the after picture here, you can see what a dramatic difference it makes. To indicate quite how much growth the tree produces, this takes the tree back to the size it was when we moved in back in 2001. As the tree surgeon said, it looks a bit dramatic at the moment, but thanks to the vast root system the tree will fairly quickly recover and produce new growth, and hopefully will be okay for another few years before we need to cut it back again.
Metcheck has been saying all week how difficult it is to predict where it will snow – but has had a forecast of snow for us all week, until this morning. It now looks like we’ll have snow to the north, but this far south the snow will only hit the west country. Will still be ‘bitterly cold’ – for our Canadian cousins, that’s an overnight of -2… 🙂
This one has been circulating around the Canadian relatives… Of course the joke would work just the same if it was BBC News 24 and you substitute ‘London’ and a couple of British people talking about their snow crisis…
There is nothing the British seem to like more than moaning about the weather. This time last week we had a nice warm spell with above average temperatures, however during that whole period the weather forecasters were predicting a cold snap. MetCheck has an explanation of why – essentially the high pressure front that brought us the warm weather in the previous week combined with low pressure over Scandinavia causes cold air to funnel down from the North Pole – hence the countrywide snow fall and chilly temperatures we’re having now. However we still had people moaning about it at work, and a bit moaning online too, almost as if it heralded a new ice age!
It’s not actually as if it is that unusual – certainly I can remember snow around Easter time on a couple of occasions, and I have a definite childhood recollection of it snowing in June when we were having a family picnic on Chorleywood Common. Thanks to the wonders of Google I found this page about late season snowfall that regards snow in March and April as common enough not to be discussed, and talks about snowfalls in May and June – and does indeed seem to confirm my memory in that it discusses widespread sleet and snow showers that occurred on June 2nd 1975, and were seen as far south as Portsmouth, Sussex and Kent.
So the much predicted snowfall finally hit our area overnight.
As usual for a snow day in Southern England, scores of schools are closed, and there is travel chaos. This is the view of our office car park at just before 9am this morning – somewhat more empty than usual. However since I’m now working only about 5 miles from home, rather than nearly 50 miles, it was a pretty straightforward trip to work for me. Of course the real problems will come tonight, when having partially melted during the day, it’s all going to freeze.