5 January 2019

Took Pat’s cocker spaniel, Rosie, for a walk in Crow Nest Wood while Jen had a brew and a chat with her mum.

One of the taller beech trees at the top of the steep dell had blown over since last time I was there a couple of months back. It hadn’t been uprooted, but had snapped all the way through a couple of feet above the ground. I’d noticed this particular tree last time: it had a large number of bracket fungi around its base. The fungi were still there doing their work, some on the fallen tree, some on the stump. When I looked closer, it became clear the tree was badly decayed inside, which presumably explains why it snapped. But whether the fungi were the original cause of the decay, or were late arrivals who took advantage of an already afflicted tree, I couldn’t tell. Either way, bad news for the tree; good news for the fungi. A matter of death and life. Entropy versus its brave, but ultimately forlorn adversary.

Fallen beech

A phone call in the evening.

Neighbourhood gossip: Galstones Farm over at Old Town caught fire last night. The elderly owner is said to have died. Dreadful.

Jen’s old house was immediately above Galstones. It has one of the most iconic views in Hebden Bridge, looking across the valley towards Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike monument.

Our late friend Mary was brought up at Galstones, among other farms. I remember her telling us how once, when she was young and very poorly, the locals spread straw on the road above the farm to deaden road-noise. When it rained heavily, water used to run down the steep track right into the farm’s stone-flagged kitchen. The most effective way to avoid serious flooding was to open the door opposite and simply let the water flow out again, down the valley into Hebden Bridge and beyond. Practical Yorkshire common-sense in action.

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletterBooks
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