Wednesday, 3 January 2018

a windy day

At breakfast time yesterday I admired the vivid streaks of cherry and orange in the sunrise across the fields, before remembering that red sky in the morning was shepherds' warning, and so it proved.  By early evening it was raining and in the small hours of the night Storm Eleanor came screaming through the wood.  It was a relief on looking out of the bedroom window this morning to see that nothing had obviously blown over or broken, and another to find when I went to let the chickens into their run that the hen house still had a roof.

The Orwell Bridge at Ipswich was, predictably, closed for the morning.  The problem of the Orwell Bridge is a tricky one, since when it shuts the entire A14 traffic flow is diverted through central Ipswich and gridlock ensues, on the other hand it is not shut all that often and the cost of a northern bypass would be immense, not to mention the opposition.  The council did start assembling the land for a bypass route many years ago, but in the face of furious protests they gave up.

Less explicably, the Colchester multistorey carpark in Balkerne Hill was closed.  Was that due to the high winds?  The other, older multistorey at the bottom of the hill was open, though I managed to get myself in the wrong lane for the turning and ended up doing an extra circuit of the town centre while trying not to drive down a bus lane by mistake.  Colchester's one way system and bus lanes are enough to get one's blood pressure up before the day has fairly started, and I try to stick to the route and the car park that I know.  And not go into Colchester very much, which was probably not the council's intention when they introduced their delphically signed traffic schemes, and car parks where to be on the safe side you end up paying for an hour's more parking than you use.  My brother and I had to go to the solicitor's office and both coughed up the extra.

It was still very windy when I got home, so I spent a productive afternoon fashioning a new presentation from the latest sets of slides the woodland charity sent out.  Besides what they called the core beginning and end there were slides about tree diseases and pests, woodland creation, urban trees, community and school tree packs, and woods under threat, and if I'd strung them all together I'd have needed a miniseries to get through them all.  I think the idea might be that we can tailor different talks to the particular interests of specific groups, but a general talk will have to do.  That's what most groups want, and it is hard work mugging up on a new talk so that you know what and how much to say as each slide comes up.  I can't face changing it each time.  At least now the charity sends a link to a shared file service with all the slides on it as a series of Powerpoint presentations that volunteers can edit as they see fit.  When I started they used to send a box of acetates in the post, and if you wanted to alter or shorten the presentation at all you had to physically move the slides around in the carousel, making sure you put them back the right way up.

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