And The Wind Blows

I can’t believe it’s just me that’s finding the strong wind blowing, again, unusual. We’ve had a lot of strong winds in recent months. It’s also odd and annoying that so many weather forecasts barely mention wind strength and direction … With the number of cyclists growing, perhaps that will change.

Today was a short-ish spin, largely off-road but just on local paths and tracks, with Charli. There was plenty of beech mast scrunching under the wheel; it’s easy to forget just how many beech trees there are around here. Beech mast might be a good sign of autumn but it was also quite warm today – above the average.

Realising the number of beech trees afresh made me realise how utterly ruinous it would be if they should fall victim to some new-to-these-shores disease. There are plenty of horse chestnuts around here and it’s common to see them struggling with leaf miner moth and, I’m told, bleeding canker too. It’s not a happy sight, but they are rarely woodland trees – more likely, they’ll be lining roads and similar. If swathes of woodland were to fall victim to a new pest, the consequences would be far, far worse.

It’s a short hop from the health of trees to the question of personal health. I imagine I’m not alone in having often heard older people, over the years, saying words to the effect of ‘as long as you’ve got your health …’.

It’s only when you start getting older that you realise just how true that is – just as old age starts to take its toll on you and your contemporaries. Yesterday I heard from a good friend who’s been quiet for a while that he’d had a stroke. That was something of a ‘whoa’ moment. He sounded not quite as he always does but not very far off and, hopefully, the prognosis is good for a full recovery over time … but a friend of mine, suffering a stroke …

I asked why he or his wife hadn’t contacted me earlier. Ever the realist, he pointed out there was nothing I could have done. Of course he’s right, but that powerlessness is almost as sobering at the illnesses attendant with ageing.