Sunday, 24 January 2016

Her Time Has Come......

This astonishing Elm tree, reputed to be more than 250 years old, stands just 5 minutes from my front door. It is rare now for Elms to live so long, because of the combined effects of disease and pollution.

This beauty stands in the gardens of Paradis des Enfants, a local school. There was a nice shelter underneath the tree, where I liked to sit and read a book while my son played football on the practice pitches. It's a lovely little corner of Woluwe St Pierre.

The shelter has been taken away, and the tree is now fenced off. The roots are solidified and rotting, and so she has to come down.

So today I took some pictures of this incredible tree. The bark, which looks so gnarled and magnificent, comes away at the touch. Her time has come. But to the end she is beautiful.

You have to get up very close to appreciate this, so I did, and I hope that you enjoy the pictures. The colour and texture speak of centuries of growth.

When this tree first began to grow, the nation of Belgium did not even exist.

Through independence and two world wars it survived. The district in which it stands is where British troops, under the command of Field Marshall Montgomery, who's memorial stands guard over the approach to Brussels to this day, and just 5 minutes walk away, first arrived in September 1944, and were bogged down by the Germans in Auderghem, literally on the other side of the road from Paradis des Enfants.

The great Belgian painter and sculptor Constantin Meunier, who passed away in 1905, and who lived little more than a stone's throw away, had not even been born when this tree was in full growth.

It is about 10 minutes walk away from the studio where Herge created Tin-Tin.

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