The Countryside About Us - February 1994

posted 7 Feb 2014, 09:14 by James Mansell
Just on the outskirts of Cretingham, in the garden of a Victorian farmhouse, stood a magnificent copper beech tree.  It must have attracted many an admiring glance especially in the summertime.  The “balance” and grandeur of this old tree was superb.  Its age must have exceeded a full century.  Many a stormy night must have lashed the boughs but it was stronger than even the great storm of ’87. It withstood all nature could hurl at it until, that is, the end of the year just past. Somehow a strong westerly proved one gale too many.  Its death was dramatic, taking with it part of the house against which it stood so splendidly for so long. Fortunately the damage done when the crash came affected only property and not persons. As someone remarked who was asleep in the house at the time, “It could have been a lot worse!” Even so, I for one, will still glance to where it once always commanded my admiration when I passed by. Maybe a successor will be planted  one day to join  the chestnut trees that make for such a pleasant approach to the village.

There is, I hope you will agree, when first in bed and pleasantly tired that one quietly drifts into the kingdom of dreams or just plain sleep.  At such a time recently, a fairly loud explosion quickly changed this idyllic state to one of alarm and wakefulness. Questions crowded into my mind. Was the noise inside the house or outside?  The electricity failed and then in seconds was restored and the night resumed its former calm. Enquiries the next morning told of neighbours also aware of the mysterious bang.  A walk in the nearby meadow provided, I think, the answer.  Almost at the base of a transformer situated in the field lay a dead heron which must have weighed over 12 lbs. I suspect it flew into the transformer, shorting the wires. An undeserving end for such a fine bird. 

Roger Sykes