Changing perspectives

I grew up in an industrial part of England, where the train line from where I lived to the main town in the region ran through steel and petrochemical works. It was never a pretty sight and I generally felt quite glum on these journey.

I have no idea if there was any vegetation along the side of the tracks but doubtless I wouldn’t have noticed.

Today, on a train journey to Birmingham, however, the observations were altogether different. True, I didn’t see any blast furnaces but there was plenty of rust and a pervading sense of shabbiness.

On the other hand, I was struck by the silver birches and buddleia as we whizzed past. They weren’t in their full glory but I can imagine how pretty they will look later in the year. (There was even a buddleia – or a plant that looked like one – growing out of the bricks of a building.)

And once again, I could only drool at the branches which had been chopped and were lying on the banks by the railway line. I wonder what will happen to them?

the building isn’t lopsided – photo taken at an angle to get the full extent of the wood pile in


About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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9 Responses to Changing perspectives

  1. drofmit4108 says:

    “There was even a buddleia – or a plant that looked like one – growing out of the bricks of a building.”….that was a buddleia alright!!

    Hopefully, those branches will be left to rot down where they are…. they are extremely valuable as a wildlife resource.
    This year, as the nettles and grass grow through them….they will provide safe cover, possibly even nesting space for small birds, voles and harvest mice…
    Next year, the pile will be reduced somewhat…woodboring beetles will have begun to work at the rotting wood…fungi will have begun to break down the smallest stuff…and the stump that has left will have new growth on it to provide more cover…
    The year after that, the pile will be no more… yes, there will be larger branches yet to vanish…but they will be lying on top of old rotten timber that decayed the previous year…and the fingers of the fungi will grow through and accelerate the breakdown…the beetles will have eaten their fill and will pupate… to hatch later in the year…or the next year…by the autumn, the fungi that has done the work, will push up new fruiting bodies…by year five, all that will remain is rich humus to feed the regrowing tree…a humus full of small micro-beasties…

    The modern trend for tidying everything up does our biodiversity no good whatsoever!!

  2. Awesome update thank you for sharing have a blessed day Helen

  3. Kalamain says:

    I can remember, years ago, they used to set fire to brash like that. Now they just leave it to rot down. In a way I prefer the latter to the former.

    • Helen says:

      Good if it is left to rot down 😊. Presumably it’s because it would be too much trouble to cart away rather than because there is a deep love of the natural world….

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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