Tuesday, 28 June 2016

London Trees – What On Earth Is Going On?

LW's David Tucker was out-and-about with the camera and spotted this…

Over to David…

What are they? What’s going on?

Looks like three trees wearing their hairnets. Or three dynamic microphones with their green wind baffles in place. Or three upside down green netted grapnels. Or green flashbulbs – remember them? Or the Jolly Green Giant’s set of whisks, complete with their green strainers. Or giant green-netted mandolins. Or djembes. Or huge Christmas tree bulbs. Or three gift-wrapped trees. Or super-size kayak paddles for the Green River Jamboree. Or three trees at a costume ball – they’ve gone as artichokes. Or Jolly G G’s green netted egg beaters. Or three trees hooded and on the scaffold, about to be executed.

The last dip of the imagination net comes closest.

These three trees are going to be felled, going to be executed.

They’re at the foot of the steps leading up to Lincoln’s Inn New Hall.

They have to be felled because Lincoln’s Inn has to do some foundational work – some heavy duty digging – right there.

Reason the trees are netted is so that birds won’t build any nests in them this Spring. Those three trees’ days of providing a home to feathered couples and their chicks are over.

Doesn’t fully answer the question, though.

The anti-nesting nets were put up because if any birds were able to build their nest in one of those trees that would have been a stay of execution for the tree.

By law – and it’s worth underlining that Lincoln’s Inn is one of the Inns of Court, the beating heart of the English legal system – by law they can’t “fell” a tree that’s got an occupied bird’s nest in it.

This “spot of time” (to use Wordsworth’s phrase), this bit of London observation and subsequent Q & A happened on a Legal London Walk I conducted for some American Criminology students earlier this month. One of the walkers asked about the trees.

I didn’t know the answer. But I knew how to find out. I know one of the gardeners there. I asked him. Ask and thou shalt receive.

We – myself and my walkers – received.

General point is London Walks guides don’t know everything. Nobody can. But we know how to find out. And have the means of getting in there and using that information retrieval system. Have access to that archive.

That “access” to how to find out comes from experience and contacts.

That good stuff – experience and contacts – gets built up over decades. It’s like a coral reef. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not garnered in month or two of summer job “guiding.”

Which is by way of saying, over the 30 years I’ve guided that walk I’ve got to know a couple of the gardeners. In effect I called in a favour.

Yet another reason why you get an experienced, veteran guide who knows what he’s doing and has built up some contacts.

Yet another reason why you don’t go with someone who’s got zilch experience, who wouldn’t know the Lincoln’s Inn Gardeners from Joe Bloggs Dustman, who wouldn’t know where to find them.

Someone who wasn’t guiding London in 2015 and won’t be guiding it in 2017.

It doesn’t come down to epic disingenuousness that’s specious in its logical structuring and wholly cynical in its application…

It comes down to the guiding.

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.

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