Tree hugging
Tales

Trees – ‘we give one another life’

I watched this short film The Trees Movie today. It’s a crowd-funding film created by tree enthusiasts around the globe. They are keen to tell the world that, places we once called home, will soon be uninhabitable.

They say there is a simple solution. That, by planting more trees, this global climate crisis can be reversed.

Apparently, if 1.2 trillion new trees are planted by the year 2030 (only 9 years away), they will help to suck up nearly 830 billion tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide that is currently swirling around the atmosphere and that is damaging us and the planet.

In short, trees help US by purifying the air and giving the oxygen we need to survive. In return, we can help THEM by caring for them, helping them to grow, protecting them, and extending their life.

The movie creators are seeking anyone who has a phone, camera, voice and story and wants to tell their own timeless tale of trees. Your story could be woven together with hundreds of fellow tree lovers and enthusiasts from around the world.

I’m going to submit my own tree hugging experience.

Don’t miss the opportunity to send a love letter to the silent giants that control our fate.

Sarah x

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the olive tree
Greece, Tales

The Olive Tree

the olive tree
The olive trees of Leonidio

The Olive Tree, η Ελιά, is one of my favourite trees.

I love the way the trunks of Olive trees are so strong, hardy and characterful and their branches and leaves so delicate. And the fruits so powerful and versatile.

I firmly believe that the Olive Tree has magical powers. It produces amazing and delicious fruits that fall in abundance at the end of each year and are enjoyed by so many worldwide. And its virgin oil so healthy and loaded with powerful antioxidants.

Why else does the olive tree exude such magic?

  • olives and their oil have strong anti-inflammatory properties
  • olive oil has antibacterial properties
  • nutrients from olive oil can help strengthen and soften hair
  • whenever I use Ouli’s Ointment as a skin softener, lip salve, or on cuts and grazes, it instantly soothes, heals, and hydrates
  • their strength is in their longevity, some can survive for around 2000 years, or longer
  • the olive tree branch is a sign of peace
  • the olive tree is protected by law. Why? Many old olive trees can die if uprooted and transported.
  • it’s one of the most beloved and sacred trees in the world
  • you are never far away from a beautiful olive tree in Greece

My favourite olive trees in Greece

olive tree olive oil
Mary’s very own olive oil

These have to be in and amongst the olive groves around Leonidio in the Peloponnese where my (now deceased) cousin, Mary, had a little house. She had many olive trees in her garden. Every olive harvest she would gather the olives with help from local pickers and turn them into her very own olive oil. Delicious!

Leonidio is a small town nestled underneath imposing mountainsides. It is well known for its very fertile landscape. I love shopping in the little streets here, especially in the local fruit and veg shops – they are abundant with local produce.

Are there any olive trees to visit in the UK?

Yes! There’s one very near to me on the Sussex coast at the little sensory Garden in Lancing. This is a tiny community garden just off the seafront. It’s dedicated to a mixture of plants, flowers, shrubs and garden art that inspire the senses and create a peaceful haven in which to relax, sit and meditate amongst olive tree, bamboo, apple tree, lavender and so much more

And, last September, I visited the Urban Jungle near Beccles in Suffolk. Dedicated to exotic and unusual plants, the Urban Jungle nurseries have a spectacular range of olive trees.

In amongst the olive trees at Urban Jungle
In amongst the olive trees at Urban Jungle, Suffolk

Finally, the ‘must visit’ olive tree of all time

This has to be one of the oldest and most impressive olive trees in the world – the Ελιά Βουβών. It sits amongst the olive groves of Vouves in Crete and it’s estimated that it could be 4000 years old. There’s an Olive Tree museum located nearby where you can learn about the tradition of olive cultivation in Greece, from ancient times and traditional tools to modern day cultivation and production.

I’ll be there as soon as I can.

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travels

No. 5 place to visit post-lockdown

No. 5 place to visit when the pandemic is over is a pub stopover. Close to my No. 4 place to visit – the beautiful tunnel of trees at Halnaker – it’s a perfect overnight stopover for me and Dolly. And it means more time to explore, more time to relax, and more time to walk on the South Downs.

Apparently, the Prince of Wales pub is only 15 minutes drive from Chichester and it has a few camper places in the field behind the pub. Even better, you can enjoy traditional pub food and there are overnight facilities – a must for Dolly and me. It’s got some good reviews on PitchUp too.

Why is it important for me and Dolly to have overnight facilities?

  • Dolly has a water supply but not a toilet
  • It’s always nice to be able to enjoy some pub food after long walking stints
  • In the UK, wild camping (camping anywhere) is illegal
  • I feel safer
  • I never know who I might get chatting to at the pub!
No. 5 place to visit with Dolly the Caddy Camper

No. 5 place to visit is my final top 5 suggestion

Just to recap, I started the theme of my ‘top 5 places to visit when the pandemic is over‘ way back in September 2020, just before the covid virus got worse again. When we are all allowed to get out and about again, simply focusing on these top 5 places has given me lots to look forward to. Here’s a reminder of my top 5 places to visit:

Good start to my 2021 planned trips in Dolly the Caddy Camper!

We’ve all needed some positivity to get us through these dark virus times. And we all have different ways of coping and ‘looking forward’ Dolly and trees give me reasons and passions to ‘look on the bright side of life’. What are yours?

Always look on the bright side of life

Until next time,

Sarah x

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travels

No. 4 place to visit post-lockdown

No. 4 place to visit when the pandemic is over is a Sussex gem and is often reached via a beautiful tunnel of trees.

No. 4 place to visit
Halnaker Windmill

Halnaker Windmill, north-east of Chichester, West Sussex, is in the South Downs National Park. The original windmill was built for the Duke of Richmond and was first recorded in 1540. It seems that the views from this newly restored windmill are superb.

Why is this No. 4 place to visit so appealing to me?

Because, one of the most popular routes to the windmill is through the Halnaker tunnel of trees. And this path is described as one of the prettiest tree tunnels in the world. Hidden away in the depths of the South Downs National Park, this wonderful tree canopy looks spectacular no matter what time of year you visit.

No. 4 place to visit
The tunnel of trees at Halnaker

As a tree lover, I can’t wait to walk through this beautiful tree tunnel. But how to get there? Apparently it is best to park in the village of Boxgrove at the village hall. There is a footpath from Boxgrove to Halnaker that runs along the main road but it is separated from the road by a hedge. When this path ends you can follow the pavement round to the right to The Anglesey Arms.

At the bottom of the garden at The Anglesey Arms is a footpath to the left. Follow the path until you reach a tarmac lane and turn right. Just a short way along this quiet road look out for another public footpath sign that leads across the fields. Follow this path until you reach the main road. Carefully cross the road and you’ll be at Warehead Farm. From the farm, turn right to the tree tunnel.

This magical tunnel of trees is described as if you’re walking into a fairytale or maybe the The Shire in Middle Earth and it is definitely why it’s my top 4 place to visit when the pandemic is over.

It reminds me of another South Downs tree haven

In case you’re ever lucky enough to walk some or all of the South Downs Way, don’t forget to also visit the village of Buriton in Hampshire. Buriton is around 24 miles along the South Downs Way from Winchester, and, from the other direction, around 24 miles from the tunnel of trees at Halnaker.

I love Buriton. It’s an idyllic village with an ancient church and a picturesque duck pond and, of course, a beautiful forest of trees to climb through up on to the South Downs Way.

I came across a lot of pine and conifer trees here. Here’s a pic of me hugging one. You can see how old this tree must be with its roots defiantly wriggling along the pathway.

No. 4 place to visit
Tree hugging at Buriton, Hampshire

Any other Tree Tunnels in the UK?

Apparently there’s an amazing Yew tree tunnel at medieval Aberglasney House in Wales. It is thought to have been planted during the 18th century. Today, the tree trunks have spread and their branches fused so much that it’s hard to count how many separate trees are mingling together. This tree tunnel is definitely on my list of ‘tree’ places to visit.

But first stop – my no. 4 place to visit, the tunnel of trees at Halnaker!

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Tales

Tree hugging and Trees

The beauty of trees

Tree hugging is one of my passions. In 2018, I hugged a different tree every day of the year. Needless to say, I learnt a lot about trees in the process.

I have also learnt that there are some key organisations in the UK that support the love and care of trees, and that promote the importance of trees to our health and well-being, and to the future of the planet. These are:

10 reasons why I love tree hugging?

  • I am giving thanks to the tree for giving us the air that we breathe
  • Hugging trees increases levels of the happy hormone serotonin
  • Trees are a source of energy. Not only do they provide oxygen and shade, they provide shelter and habitats for animals
  • Some trees give their fruit and wood to help ensure our survival
  • Trees bear wisdom. They shed their leaves in winter and yet they remain standing tall knowing that they will return to full splendour again in the spring
  • Trees have an excellent grounding energy, they give out the energy vibe of safety, security and stability
  • I have learnt to get to know the different varieties of tree
  • Hugging trees encourages me to get out into nature regularly
  • I have explored new areas of parkland and forests
  • I appreciate the importance of saving trees to save our planet

What were my top tree hugs in 2018?

  1. The Cedar Tree of Lebanon. The Cedar Tree has a symbol of power and longevity. My father’s ashes are buried underneath this tree. I love the way the Cedar tree has a mind of it’s own, the way that its branches span out horizontally in all directions and provide such a warm and welcoming feel. And wow…what a magnificent tree trunk.
Hugging a Cedar Tree
  1. The Silver Birch. I love the white bark of these striking trees, there’s no mistaking them. Their trunks are elegant and slim and their branches are elegant too. The leaves, light and delicate, twinkle and dance. I would say that, if trees were in a fashion show, the Silver Birch would definitely be up there on the cat walk.
Hugging a Silver Birch

Maple Trees. I frequently pass through this glorious avenue of Maple Trees at Beach Tree Gardens in Worthing. An uncomplicated tree, the Maple looks magnificent whatever the season, with leaves that change to magnificent colours. Even in the winter when the maple is waiting for its fresh spring bloom, this tree never loses it’s charm.

Hugging a Maple Tree
Hugging a Maple Tree

Plant a tree, save the planet

Trees are in the news a lot these days. We all know the stark facts on climate change and how we need to act NOW to prevent irreversible damage to the earth.

Planting trees can drastically help to capture huge amounts of damaging carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In fact, research shows that planting billions of trees across the world is one of the biggest and cheapest ways of taking CO2 out of the atmosphere.

So, how about it? When was the last time that YOU planted a tree? You can contact any of the organisations above to find out more about how to help preserve, and plant more trees.

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Tales, travels

No. 1 place to visit post-lockdown

No. 1 place to visit - somewhere with trees
Beech Trees

No 1. place to visit is somewhere with lots of trees.

Why? So many reasons. I love trees. Without them, the human race wouldn’t survive – trees take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and, in the process of making wood, they emit oxygen…vital for our existence. I’m always thanking trees, hugging them too.

No. 1 place to visit - somewhere with trees
Hugging a Pine Tree

Second, trees are sanctuaries. Sanctuaries for calm, peace, nature, wildlife, thought, de-stressing, happiness, beauty.

Third, being in a forest is good for the soul, it’s impossible to be unhappy in a forest. It’s the simple things that take over, like listening to branches whistle in the wind, noticing how the mind starts to unclutter, feeling the crunch underfoot as you walk, and breathing in the fresh forest air.

So…where are the No. 1 place to visit local forests and woods where Dolly and I can travel to for the day? Here’s my list so far:

Just think of all the No. 1 places to visit of wonderful forest spaces, untouched after months of being human-free during the virus-crisis months, that will be ready to explore, abundant with nature, and full of bird song.

I can’t wait…

No. 1 place to visit - somewhere with trees
Tree Hugging at Buriton, Hampshire

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Tales

Embracing change

Hugging trees
Embracing change

Change. Transform. Refresh. Re-focus. 

I’ve said goodbye to my web content writing offering.  It’s time to move on, change, and re-focus.

To embrace the unfolding adventures of the next stage of my life, to enjoy being a Granny, to have more adventures in Dolly the Caddy Camper, to move more and sit less.

My 5 top freelance achievements:

  1. Working on some amazing projects with www.bluesail.com.  And being part of a team that helped tourism officers in London to focus on their tourism offerings, that wrote useful ‘How To’ guides for tourism & marketing officers, and that created, launched, wrote, and edited the North East Tourism Toolkit website for North East tourism businesses.
  2. Connecting and working with wonderful colleagues and clients. Amanda Shepherd and her team at Blue Sail, all of my ex-colleagues at VisitBrighton, the team at nVisage, Adam and Laurie at Press Choice, Govind at Freedom Holidays, Dan at Davanco Leisure, and many more.
  3. Working alongside wonderful content writers – Christina at Brittle Star, Lauren Smith at The Original Wordsmith, Jamie Scott at Just Add Words, and freelance writer Dan Tester.
  4. Being advised by Dawn at Migrate Media and Adam at Giganaut who have guided and developed my online presence from day one with a website that has consistently  ranked Page 1 for search term web content writer
  5. Being flexible with where I worked.  In 14 years I moved from Sussex to Staffordshire and back down to Sussex.  My desk space has varied from.. being in a cupboard, overlooking a snowy courtyard, round the corner from an 11th century ruined castle, close to a warming open-fire, in libraries,  in a little village in Oxfordshire, and in a basement in Hove.

My 3 freelance side-lines:

  1. I trained to become a NIA Blue Belt Teacher and taught 2 NIA classes a week.  Oh what wonderful people I met and danced with.
  2. I combined freelance with part-time work.  Working at a beautiful dance space, Deda, in Derby. Working at Structural Engineers Hemsley Orrell Partnership in Hove,  And working at the NHS in Lancing and Sussex.
  3. I project managed the launch of an online family tree, and helping my now deceased cousin, James Gibbs, to sell and find homes for his beautiful fish paintings.

My top 2 freelance lessons:

  1. Learning to develop a ‘never give up’ attitude.  I kept going with projects at the most difficult of times.  To make ends meet and alongside my web content writing,  I’ve done cold-calling, database research, deadline-driven transcription work, and on-street surveys.  And I’ve learnt how to do my own online tax returns.
  2. Learning that freelance working is both free-ing and tie-ing.  Free-ing in that I can work when and where I want, tie-ing in that if I don’t do the work I don’t get paid. My time and energy has ultimately been tied to projects.

Change:

  • encourages us to go out of our comfort zones
  • teaches us to be flexible
  • reveals our strengths
  • encourages us to be more compassionate
  • breaks up routines
  • offers opportunities
  • encourages us to re-invent ourselves and reminds us of our passions

My new beginnings:

I’m letting go of the web content writing, and I’m inviting in time for:

  • being a Granny
  • adventuring in Dolly the Caddy Camper
  • being creative
  • finding new ways of ‘moving’
  • spending time with family
  • hugging more trees
  • helping our precious green spaces

Thank you to everyone who has been part of my freelance journey since 2006, what an amazing journey it’s been.

Change made it happen.

Sarah x

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