This is a wonky picture. I know. It was a dull afternoon (Christmas Eve) and I was hurrying. And I'm not yet used to taking pictures where hills are going off in all directions and there's no horizon. (I keep having to say these things. I'm keeping you with me as I adjust.)
But I like it.
When I first came to look at Halifax I hated this big glass and stone building. It's over heavy and ostentatious and quite frightening to drive under. It feels as if it will fall and topple and crush. But along with other things I'm sort of growing an affection for it. It's quite impressive when people are hurrying up and down its steps on their way to and from work. Like a ziggurat.
But it's a sad sight too. I know I'm swinging around. But that's how it is. For 'The Halifax' used to be a famous building society - individuals could receive interest on the money they saved in it and buy their homes with money they borrowed from it. The idea was thought up in the upper room of a local pub (1853) and the whole enterprise was owned by its members. But now it's just an ordinary bank, bundled in with The Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank and various other financial institutions - a casualty of late twentieth century greed in which capitalism went on a rampage and the idea of mutuality was mowed down by a load of individuals who knew how to 'work' the system - eventually leading to all sorts of financial crashes all over the place. But now, of course, the main function of this particular building is to be a backdrop to the alder tree I'm following - between two silver birches.
Turning the other way, back to bark, we see 'what's behind me' . . . and are able to contrast the stumpy sturdy branches of the alder (on the right in this picture) with the more delicate, droopy ones of the birch. (A more mature silver birch has a totally different atmosphere at the top . . . perhaps one day I'll be able to look level with the top of all three trees . . . I wonder if people in the building would let me look out of their window . . . )
Sticking with the branches . . . one of the things which attracted me to this broadly uninteresting tree was that it has fairy lights in its branches. Do you know the Greek Village series of books by Sara Alexi? (I can't recommend it too highly.) In it, Stella, one of the main characters, hangs fairy lights in the tree outside her cafe which sells chicken and chips with lemon sauce. The lights, even though they are naff, are a sign of joy and freedom and laughter and liberation. Her cafe is one of the centres of community. Perhaps the lights in 'my' alder are turned on for night-clubbers. Don't know. But they weren't on for Christmas, which was a bit of a let-down. (Especially as the decorative baby's dummy and old drinks can have been removed from its protective railing.)
Being a bit more tree-focused . . . here is its bark.
And close to pavement level - buds ready in waiting for spring. I don't know how frequently managed this tree is but guess this bundle of twigs will be cut away at some point so don't get too fond of them.
These pictures were taken, as I mentioned above, on Christmas Eve, so they are two weeks out of date. How much change will there be by next month's Tree Following post? We'll see.
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|I'm Following a Tree|
Tree Following - chose a tree and observe its progress through the year. If you'd like to share your posts with a larger group of Tree Followers you can leave a link on The Squirrelbasket blog between 7th and 14th of each month.
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The Loose and Leafy links for help with identifying things is now up and running on this blog. It's still there on the old Loose and Leafy in Dorset but from now on I'll be updating it only on this (the Halifax) site.
The last five additions are:UK Moths
U.S. WILDFLOWER JOURNAL - A plant a day.
WILDFLOWERS OF THE UNITED STATES - Massive index with photos.
PLANT AND FUNGI SPECIES - an alphabetical list on the Plantlife Site
FIRST NATURE - Trees, fish, flowers, fungi etc.