Thursday, 19 February 2009

Up a Tree

I just love climbing trees. I always have. If you share my passion, you'll be familiar with the way that, from an early age, you learn to spot a good one. There will be at least a couple of low branches to get you going and there will be just enough space between the ones higher up to let you through. Climbing a tree is an exhilarating puzzle: you have to find the best route through a jumble of branches. The rules are simple: avoid dead-looking ones, test the ones you choose carefully and never put all your eggs in one basket. Once at the top, you are usually treated to an impressive view, especially if the tree is in a wood, and you can survey the canopy as a swimmer can the ripples on the water. Climbing down is invariably harder and you usually ask yourself, at least once, why on earth you left the ground in the first place.

Whenever I climb a tree I am reminded that I have always wanted to build a tree house. Sadly, I have never had the opportunity. Quite simply, I have never had a garden that boasted a suitable tree. You know the sort: pretty sturdy, with a good spread of branches a few feet off the ground.

My perfect tree house would be reached by a rope ladder. It would not be one of those half-hearted apologies for a tree house you see from time to time: a few planks nailed across a couple of branches to make a crude platform. My tree house would not only avoid nailing itself to the tree but would also boast walls, a window and a roof. It might even stretch to a second story: a ladder, perhaps, leading to a patio in the sky: a place to read a newspaper, or just look at the clouds.

I do not suppose I will ever get the chance to build it. I doubt I will ever move house again and it would take years to grow a tree that would be substantial enough. I am not that bothered, really. I suspect it is best left as a fantasy and, if I were to actually build it, I doubt if I would find the time to use it.

Photo: Karen Rivron


Rachel Fox said...

I love the colour of the ears in this photo. They look like they were painted afterwards!

Frances said...

I remember my in-laws had just such a tree house as you describe in their garden. It was left over from the Edwardian era and entirely unsafe so I just used to stand below it and look up and pretend. So romantic.

Poet in Residence said...

As a so-called senior citizen I fear that my tree climbing years are behind me. Now I climb mountains. Or more correctly I run up and down them. But only small and medium ones like Ben Nevis, Snowdon, Monte Elmo, Feuerkogel and Schneeberg. The big ones and the gigantic ones I leave to the experts.
Be careful up there in those trees Dominic!

Dave King said...

I always enjoyed it, too, but was never much good at it. You obviously are.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I think it is something best left to the imagination. I also think that most of us have something that fits into this bracket. I always wanted a low-slung two-seater sports car - when I was offered a sit in one last year I found it hard to get into and impossible to get out of - the same may be true of your tree house.

BarbaraS said...

I always wanted a tree house: I made do with a house in the bushes on the ground instead.

My middle son has a thing about climbing trees. And walls - in fact anything that looks like a good climb, he'll have a go. I think he has goat blood in him. He's eleven.

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for these comments, everyone.

Rachel: Take it from me, they weren't. They're luminous. They run in the family. Very useful in the dark.

Frances: Sounds wonderful. I think I'll try googling tree houses...

PiR: Can't beat mountain running, if you ask me. Once spent a leisurely weekend in the Lake District running up the 3,000ers there - one at a time, the "Bob Graham Round" being a bit beyond me.

Dave: Not good, just keen.

WG: A sports car?? I'm shocked. :)

Barbara: As for making do, I shouldn't complain, as I do have a shed - of the recreational rather than full-to-the-rafters with garden tools variety.

Poet in Residence said...

Are you stuck up that tree Dominic? You've been up there a long time. Are you looking for a cat? Shall I send for the fire brigade?

Dominic Rivron said...

No need to call the Fire Brigade! The tree is about 150 miles away, as I type, which is about as unstuck up it as you can get. It overlooks the estuary somewhere between Porthmadog and Morfa Bychan.