Random Tuesday

I understand that this year we’re having a mast autumn in the south of England. Something that happens every 5 to 10 years when all the trees synchronise to produce a vast quantity of fruit- far too much for the predators to eat so saplings can grow and flourish. And it’s true, the hedgerows are dripping with berries and the quantity of conkers and acorns, crab apples and beech masts make walking a dangerous business, any small gust of wind and the thud of conquers hitting the ground makes Dylan the dog and I stop in our tracks!

But in amongst the burnished leaves

I saw these interlopers

With bright candy colours the plump pink seed case surrounds orange berries that look far too exotic for this damp neck of the woods. But I’ve learnt that it is native and it’s a Spindle Tree. Colin Williams in The Guardian says:

‘The spindles are a rebellion against the pallor of their neighbouring trees; they are brave impressionist paintings among the ash and crab apple.’

As well as being a thing of beauty it can live for more than 100 years and its’ hard, dense, straight wood is used to make spindles for spinning and holding wool, knitting needles and artists’ charcoal.

It reminds me of the pink and purple Tinkle-Tinkle tree in Roald Dahl’s The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me and now that I’ve seen one of course, I see them everywhere

The orange and pink Spindle-Spindle tree!

18 thoughts on “Random Tuesday

  1. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/food/the-plate/2015/09/28/michaelmas-the-day-the-devil-spit-on-your-blackberries/

    This idea, Jane, has piqued my ‘shit haiku’ mind for some years. But I have as yet to find the kernel within it to use it. I do enjoy these traditions and their origins and, particularly so here, that with the Gregorian calendar, the date shifted!? Anyway, great post and pictures. (I don’t think that I’d heard of a ‘mast’ autumn before. Is it to do with the trees and bushes being ‘fully sailed’ – so many English maxims seem to be nautically base). So, thanks for that, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the article, I didn’t know Lucifer landed in a blackberry bush – all very interesting. Fully sailed would mean ready to go wouldn’t it? I suppose it does mean that in a way as the trees have all synchronised to shed too much fruit all at the same time – it’s just so clever!


    1. Thanks Cath, it’s new to me this year too. I had noticed that there was an uncommonly huge amount of berries and seeds and fruit and then saw an article explaining it all. I should have included a picture of a beech mast, oh well!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such beautiful pictures. I love this time of year, especially when the weather is bright and sunny. Id it just me, or do the autumn colours seem especially vivid this year? A splash of brightness amid the spectre of wider events…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think they are brighter – very hot spring followed by warm, wet(ish) summer and this mast business! Do you think nature has conspired to give us something to look at when everything else is closed?!


  3. Beautiful! I was aware that there are years of mass production but not that this extended to hedgerows; I only knew that it happened with beech mast and acorns. Yesterday I was admiring the most beautiful tree – it has now lost all its leaves but remains smothered in bright red berries. I wondered if it was a spindle tree as I passed it. I shall investigate!

    Liked by 1 person

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