This is by The Squirrel...
I've never thought of myself as a tree-hugger. Never been the type. But since the local council slapped a Tree Preservation Order on the tree in my front garden, I must admit to feeling more than a little protective towards my sycamore. Possessive, even.
I've never really given it much thought before. I mean, it's just there. It was there when I moved in, it's pleasant enough, and apart from covering my car with sap every spring and autumn it's never done anything to make me wish it any harm.
But now the tree has taken on a whole new significance for me.
It seems the council has singled out my tree for special treatment because "so many others in the city are being chopped down". Well, I've never entertained any thoughts of chopping down my tree - not even for a second. And not for any eco-warrior, defender-of-the-natural-world reason - to be honest it provides a nice, handy barrier which blocks me quite neatly from my neighbours' view. So I wouldn't want to go chopping it down. It does need a bit of pruning now and then, when the branches get precariously close to the roof - but from now on I'm even going to have to apply for permission to do that.
But even though I'm a little bit put out, shall we say, about this nanny-state intervention on behalf of my tree, what really makes me cross is the thought of just how much it has cost to put said order in place. I found out about its existence through (irony of ironies) a huge wad of documents which landed on the doormat. It details all the trees in the neighbourhood which have been identified as needing protection. And it details the hoops the council is now going to have to jump through to get the order passed in perpetuity. And that's before I (a) object or (b) apply for permission to lop, crop or do whatever else I might want to do to the tree, thereby creating a whole load of extra work for our council staff. I wonder how many of them are employed to look after our trees? Even ones like mine, which I'm quite capable of looking after by myself, thanks. And I don't demand any payment for doing it.
I just want to be left in peace with my tree. And if we could just find a way to do that, I think we could save a bit of taxpayers' cash while we're at it.