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Thursday 16 February 2012: How are the Mighty fallen....

I am going to make an effort to get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight, so here's a quick blip.

Missing taking Gypsy for walks, I decided to head down to the Back Beach this morning after dropping Immy at school. This is where dogs may be exercised, as they are not allwoed on the main beach at Tahuna (rather sad, I know, to be reduced to watching other people exercise their pets!). There were only a couple of dog owners around when I arrived, but soon more appeared and I walked for a while, shooting dogs playing in the sea; chasing seagulls; swimming out for sticks; running after balls; digging holes; running madly about; rolling in the sand or just ambling along at a sedate pace - depending on their breed and age. I got what I thought would make some nice blips.... but then, as I decided to return to my car, the peaceful morning air was rent by the unmistakeable revving of a chainsaw.

I saw a group of Council foresters, obviously engaged in felling one of the old pines in the stand at the edge of the beach and decided to stick around and photograph it. The whole process took about 20 minutes and, just before she went down, I actually got to hear the legendary cry of "Tim-berrrrrr!"

Using the motor-drive, I shot the whole thing as a sequence and have been playing it backwards and forwards in iPhoto. It was rather difficult to choose one frame so in the end I settled on this one, which I took about five minutes later, as the men were beginning the clear-up operation. It was rather a sad sight to witness, and I was particularly dismayed to see the birds who obviously made their homes in the tree, flying around in obvious distress. I hope that most of their fledglings had already flown their nests.

I talked to one of the foresters and he told me that these trees have to come down because they are being gradually undermined by the sea and becoming unstable. As he put it, "Kids get in there and play under them and the last thing you want is a tree coming down on a bunch of kids." Fair enough, management of trees is an important business. I asked if he knew how old these trees are and he said probably only 60-70 years, although they look older. There are old photographs taken between the wars on display in the airport viewing lounge, in which the trees are not obvious.

You can see them in this blip, halfway up in the right hand side of the picture.

Oddly enough, almost exactly a month ago, on 13th January, I blipped the felling of a different tree, in Bahrain. I was struck this morning by the contrast in the way in which the two operations were handled. Bahrain involved about 16 men, clad only in shirts or tee-shirts, trousers and (mostly!) flip-flops or sandals; five chainsaws and a great deal of shouting and yelling. This morning's procedure required six men clad in hi-vis jackets, hard hats, ear protectors and work boots; one chainsaw and occasional shouts from the man who was actually dropping the tree, as to what he was about to do next!

The phrase 'How are the mighty fallen' comes from the King James Bible, Samuel 1:27. I'm afraid that it is part of David's lament for Saul and Jonathan. Our Jonathan, I am pleased to report, is fit and well and has already nearly finished making Immy's desk. Part of it is made from dressed pine.......

I think this is better viewed in LARGE. There are some extra shots in my blipfolio.

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