The skies are grey and the horizon seems to be little more than a hundred yards away. Yet the wind. which is quite gusty, is not cold. It looks like Autumn, but it is really not that bad. A quick glance out of the window before The Dog, Jackie and I set out this morning, was all it took to send us out wrapped up nice and warm – and completely overdressed. In spite of all indications to the contrary, it was pleasantly mild.
Sycamore leaves are quite large and they seem to be in a hurry to leave home. At the moment, we have a considerable number of them gathering in sheltered corners to discuss their next move. A good percentage of them have large black spots all over them. I pointed this out to Google and he obligingly passed on some interesting information. This is Tar Spot. It isn’t anything to write home about, the Sycamore and Maple trees just seem to shrug it off. It is caused by a fungus that hung around in the leaf mould and then infected the new leaves in the spring. There is nothing it enjoys more than a damp misty climate so, no doubt, it feels right at home around here.
When we were busy trying to choke ourselves into an early grave, by filling the atmosphere around us with coal fumes, the fungus kept a very low profile. The high sulphur content of smoke and smog killed it off. Now, however, since we’ve cleaned up our act, it has gained a new lease of life.
It may not look all that pretty – but it’s a sign of our good, fresh country air.