Tuesday, 20 January 2015

A winter walk.

This morning I took advantage of a sunny morning (it was freezing) to take a walk around ancient Ankerwycke and remembered why the Pagans worshiped evergreen plants like Holly, Ivy, Yew and Mistletoe.

When you live in a forest where all the leaves come down in autumn - when winter comes the flash of green seems like a miracle.

This poor old tree is just covered with Mistletoe - it's a parasite. Scientists will tell you that the Mistletoe doesn't kill the tree - it does. This one is on the way out.
I haven't been here since the autumn and I found lots of traces of young lads earning some beer money before Christmas; pulling down Mistletoe to sell; 

This is one of a number of branches they didn't bother to take or couldn't carry. It's hard work and you really need a head for heights - the best stuff is high up. But as each sprig retails for £2-50, the wholesale price of this big branch would buy a lot of lager.

The white berries are very sticky and hungry birds can get to regret eating the berry when they can't get rid of the seed. So, they fly up to a bend in a branch on the tree and smear the seed off their beak so that it sticks onto the branch. then the seed sprouts and grows into the tree to drink it's sap.

They do look nice on a winter's morning, though;

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

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