Saturday, 9 October 2010

This is the letter that my Consultant has sent to Addenbrookes. I am sorry that I have had to leave out some detail but there are plenty of nutters out on the Internet and my Blog is deliberately very open.
By the way, I am 58! As you can see, a PSA of 4.2. You wouldn't normally even get referred with a figure that low. Also, when first examined by the Consultant, it was thought to be benign! All this when the disease is actually, "fairly widespread". Phew! I could be sitting here now looking forward to my next PSA test in a years time, thinking all was well with the world.

Not a lot to say today because so far, I have only identified and made pages for 10 out of the 30 British Trees on my list. I know that the wood from Holly is so dense it will not float in water. On the other hand, Alder is very water resistant and most of Venice stands on Alder piles. It was also used for water troughs and even pipes. Woodworm prefer Alder more than any other wood, so leaving a few bits in the attic is a good idea if you want them to leave your beams alone. Even a small bit in your wardrobe could save it from attack! The sap from the Birch can be used to make wine and the Birch can also be used to drive away evil spirits, hence being 'birched' to drive out the devil! The Elm's branches can just suddenly fall off without warning, this being one reason that the tree is often associated with death. The other being that it is the best choice of wood for a coffin! Build your house from Cedar, apparently it is almost insect proof. If you want a nice smelling wood on the fire, go for Cherry. If you want to make a magic wand, it has to be made from Hazel, though you'll be lucky to find any Hazel nuts these days because the Grey Squirrel will harvest them before they fall. Illegal distilleries used Juniper wood to fuel their boilers as it burns with very little smoke, and if you want a baby boy (and you're a woman :-), just hang around this tree for a while every day! In Scotland, stir your milk with a stick from the Rowan Tree if you want to stop it curdling, or in Ireland, the same stick will ward off your old Granny if she tries to come back from the dead!

But the Daddy of them all in Britain, has to be the Yew. Yew timber is heavy but very elastic and was traditionally used for longbows and spears. The world’s oldest wooden artifact was a yew spear found in Essex, and estimated to be 200,000 years old. The wood is so hard that a yew fence post is said to outlive one made of iron. Other uses include domestic utensils and bowls, furniture, dagger handles, cogs and wheels. 
There has been a long association of yew trees in churchyards and there are at least 500 churchyards in England which contain yew trees which are older than the building itself. Some of the Congregation are even older! It is not known why there is this link but there are many theories- from yews being planted over the graves of plague victims to protect and purify the dead; to the more mundane in that yews could be planted in churchyards as it was one of the only places that cattle did not have access and therefore would not be poisoned by eating the leaves. Yew trees are taken as symbols of immortality in many traditions, but are also seen as omens of doom. For many centuries it was the custom for yew branches to be carried on Palm Sunday and at funerals. In Ireland, it was said that the yew was ‘the coffin of the vine’ as wine barrels were made of yew staves.

Beverley says I am becoming a 'Tree Guru'. I think that translates to a 'Boring Twat' in her language!

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