(NOT) IN A PICKLE

PUBLISHED: 14:40 02 August 2007 | UPDATED: 12:43 04 May 2010

We are now well into the walnut pickling season. It s time to gather the green fruit and do things with salt water and vinegar. Unfortunately some Soham residents won t be enjoying their pickled walnuts this year as their tree has been chopped down. It wa

We are now well into the walnut pickling season. It's time to gather the green fruit and do things with salt water and vinegar. Unfortunately some Soham residents won't be enjoying their pickled walnuts this year as their tree has been chopped down. It was a healthy, prolific feature of the bottom end of Gunton's Close until it was abruptly felled recently. It had grown on a piece of open ground for several years and provided a habitat for birds, squirrels and local children.

I'm told that the reasons for its felling range from the ubiquitous "health and safety" (trees were invented so that children could fall out of them, weren't they?) to blocking light (the residents of the most vulnerable garden had no problems) and tree disease (the piece of the trunk that I saw looked healthy enough.) It couldn't be that it was blocking the access to a piece of land ripe for development and, as the ground it grew on is owned by a Manchester property company, is more useful to some people out of the way could it? Meanwhile birds, squirrels and children are denied their natural habitat and the people of Gunton's Close are denied their pickled walnuts. Jake the spaniel is keen for as many trees as possible to be left standing because he has to drink lots of water when the weather is warm.

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