Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Tuesday, 19 March 2013
As I write this, the air is filled with the sporadic sounds of a chain-saw and chipper which are being used to fell the big, spindly willow which is up against the back of Pulteney Bridge in the photo. Half an hour ago, it was twice the size on the left side.
I suppose - and hope - that they might just be pollarding it. Willows can be pollarded to within an inch of their lives, then grow even lusher than ever as the weather warms up. Either way, that nest you can see in a fork next to the remaining trunk will not be occupied again this spring. It will be on the ground and through the chipper in a matter of minutes.
For a great many years now, that tree has been host to a blackbird which sweetens the night air - both winter and summer - by holding a lengthy and complicated conversation with a rival on the other side of the river. I suppose it may use a chimney-pot instead, but I wouldn't blame it for moving out of the area all together.
Over a period of only one or two days in the summer, this willow produced a stupendous quantity of white, fluffy seeds which would blow about all the adjacent streets and collect in great drifts in alcoves and doorways.
One of the highlights of summer in this part of the city was that short period when the tree decided that conditions were about right before releasing vast clouds of airborne seeds onto the breeze which would drift for miles like summer snow. I think I showed you a picture of it happening outside our windows last year.
The dismantling of this tree - though maybe completely justified - has only added to the general air of melancholy in this house right now.
I went to the pub last night, and was pretty much ignored by my favourite bar-staff, because of the stupid involvement between two rival alpha-males, as already mentioned. Now Green-Eyes has been implicated by association, and feels she cannot be seen to talk to me in front of the others, so I was ignored by her as well. My words have fucked-up that part of her life as well, but I never saw that coming, idiot that I am.
When I got home, her mother was here, and we chatted away until the phone rang, whereupon her mother asked her to answer it. This in itself was unusual.
On the other end was her older cousin, who she had not spoken to for quite a while. He was calling to tell us that his mother - H.I.'s brother-in-law - had died the night before. He leaves his son and H.I.'s sister, who has early Altzeimer's disease. When she awoke in the morning, she understood what had happened, but as the day wore on and she became more tired, she began asking after her husband, who she had not seen for a few hours. We wonder how her son will cope in the coming months, without outside help.
When finally alone in the still compact but not now so adorable compact flat, H.I. told me that I was making our grand daughter's life hell by association, and I asked her what - short of never going into the pub again - I could do about it. It was a serious question.
She said I should talk to her about it, but I asked how I could, if she deliberately used a different entrance to the bar in order to avoid being seen with me? I will be bloody relieved when the spring begins in earnest - this has to be one of the worst winters ever, on many different levels.
On a positive note, the efforts of one-alpha male have saved the job of the other - the community share-offer has hit the £500,000 target, and now it remains to be seen if the bank will keep it's side of the bargain by lending the money to the small business that has been allotted for just that purpose.