Tag Archives: Trees


5 Jan

There are times when everything seems to turn to ashes. All one’s best efforts, all ones hopes, and, foolishly one’s expectations are dashed to smithereens. And yet….. and yet, there is always a calm core to every Force 10 Hurricane.

Late this afternoon in the gloaming of a Wintery Sheffield Woodland, I revisited my old stamping ground – the place where I was awarded a post as a Countryside Ranger in 2003.

I was looking for a particular pair of trees, introduced to me by an ex colleague of Sheffield City Council Ranger Service, way back in 2004.

My Ranger colleague, John and our gaffer, Mark had been in post nearly 30 years man and boy when I joined the South Ranger Team, fresh from 2 years entertaining naughty boys and girls as a Green Watch Project Ranger.

I was as keen as mustard.

Mark my gaffer, used to say “For Christ’s sake sit down lad and have a cup of tea, you’re doing my scone in!”. I would be in the Base at Greenhill Park at least half an hour before them, busying myself fettling tools for the days work, checking the diary and sorting through emails. Busy, busy, busy.

If I was worried about setting up for a school booking, John would say “Be reyt’ ” and roll another cigarette.

I confess I could not understand the South Team attitude. It always felt as if we were ‘arsing about’ to coin a Yorkshire phrase.

Now, with my father’s passing, I understand the importance of ‘R’-sing ¬†around.

R obscured


The trees I was looking for are a tall straight larch and a beautiful sweet chestnut. They have grown together for years, embracing as lovers do. They have some to rest against each other.

If you walk a bit further along the path, this is revealed:

R revealed

‘R’ for ‘R-sing’ around.

‘R’ for Ranger.

My father would have said:

“Steady on Son” – he was Rangering.

For Simon Littlewood, my brother in aRms.

Si and Henk Carpenters


4 Jun

I put a troublesome poplar down for a friend the other day and the conversation went something like this:
Friend “Henk, what’s the going rate for felling a tall Poplar at the end of my garden?”
H “Depends, but if I can do it as a straight fell, cross cut and stack it easily I will do it for one of your outstanding fret saws”
Friend “… ok, but only if you are sure”
My friend Wes Hedge is an accomplished wood turner and bowl carver and I always like to use hand crafted tools. Something made with dedication has an inner life all of it’s own. It may just be the knowledge and association with the maker, but for me it is a living essence.
So the morning came around for me to fell the tree and Wes asked me:
“Will we need to put a rope on it?”
To be honest there was only a 5% error margin in the direction the tree had to fall. A little too much to the left and the rabbit hutch was toast, a bit too much to the right and a lovely crab apple would catch the full force
“…Just move the gnome mate” I said
Three cuts later and a 25 meter tree dropped onto the lawn with no collateral damage.
The motivation of getting my hands on this baby was more powerful than money.
So now I am the proud owner of this fret saw.
Wes made it with a longer handle for my big mit’, so now I can make a birthday present for my younger brother Nathan and his new wife Anna’ sprog when it is born.
There is an old English expression which says that a fair exchange is no robbery. I would like to suggest that a fair exchange is the corner stone of good will and friendship.