Useful sites about trees

A guide to tree preservation procedures

Tree Preservation Orders and trees in conservation areas

Campaign in your community

Becoming a Community Guardian in Greater Manchester

Heritage Trees

The Tree Register – with a unique database of over 200,000 of our most notable Trees

Ancient Tree Inventory

Woodland Management

Governance of community forests and woodlands in Great Britain

Trees for Life

Information about the Caledonian Forest ecosystem.

The Druidic Tree Site

The Sacred Grove Planting Project

Tree Care info: Finding an aborist

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Is Anybody Listening?

Is anybody listening?

We cannot go back and fix the planet

100 months have been and gone

It’s only getting worse

More smog

More rain

More drought

More wind

Is there anybody listening?

Less bees

Less trees

Less soil

Less air

Is anybody listening?

No this

No that



Is there anybody listening?

This time it’s not the survival of the fittest

It’s survival of the one percent

The bad, the liars and the greedy

Are writing the script

For future life on earth

The rest of you are not listening



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Kicking the bucket back!

14054150_1071693506212151_6188641893629370659_nLet’s get real about the older generations and yes, I have put it in the plural for a very good reason. My mother is still driving at 85. My Aunt of 97 has recently popped over from Canada for a short visit. We have a 34 year age span. My friend of 86 is still working for a community farm in despite two or three brushes with cancer. I could give you several more examples from personal experience, so let’s get some of the myths about frail old pensioners dispelled shall we?

The media are fuelling what I suspect is a Tory backed campaign to turn myth to reality in people’s’ minds in that old people are going to be an increasing burden because of our increasing numbers. I am now one of the ‘younger oldies’, absolutely fed up with magazines aimed at my age group that are full of adverts for stair lifts and electric scooters. So I went looking for some actual facts about old people in the UK today…and figures are wonderful things to play with – but then most of you younger people don’t know that.

2011 Census: Those aged 65 and over accounted for 16 per cent (10.4 million) of the population of the UK. By mid-2039 the raw figures show a different pattern and yes the numbers over 65 grow – but not in the way we are being led to believe.

2018: There will be 12.3 million aged over 65 – source Office for National Statistics and the lower level age for receipt of pensions  increases from there on in.


The over 65s’ share of UK’s income tax payments was 11 per cent for the tax year 2012/13, or £17.5billion of the £157billion total income tax paid, according to Prudential’s analysis

  • So… approximately 10.4% of the population all aged over 65 paid 11% of the tax bill for the whole country. 



British pensioners pay on average £3,258 a year in income tax (but the figure could rise as the new pension freedom rules start to have an impact), a new study suggests 

The new state pension from 2016 is £8,092pa. So after deducting the tax revenue generated by taxing pensions, a shortfall of £4834 per pensioner has to be found from the NI monies that have been paid in by an individual over 39 years.(4834/39 = £123pa to be paid back for every year worked).

Life expectancy over 65

Men who reach 65 can look forward to another 19 years, while women can expect another 21 (but there are regional variations) says Public Health England.

Given this life expectancy (39 years paid in/20 average years paid out) means only £61.50pa of monies paid in is actually paid back for every year worked.

  • So… the UK national NI fund is net contributing only about £61.50pa per pensioner towards the state pensions of the over 65’s.

In 2018, given the figures above, that will be £7.56bn pa (12.3m X 61.5), rather less than the (12.3m x 8092) £99.5billion that might be assumed from raw data.

The overall cost of replacing Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system would be £167bn  (that’s 22 years worth of pensions payments)

  • So the lesson is… figures can provide a lot of smokescreens – there are lots of anomalies buried in the figures that are not all easily found or explained and I have not even tackled the social care bills in this essay, but currently:

853,615 old age pensioners currently receive essential care that allows them to live independently (less than 10%)

The proportion of the population aged 65 and over who were living in communal establishments  declined to 337,000 in 2011 and … The resident care home population is ageing: people aged 85 and over represented 59.2% of the older care home population

2013: Residential care homes were more profitable, at 31.3% of total income, compared with 27.4% for nursing homes

At the end of 2015: research by wealth manager Killik & Co and think-tank the CEBR found that the average annual cost of a nursing home has risen by 3.8 per cent over the past year alone to £39,300, while the cost for a residential home has increased by 2.4 per cent to £29,300. 

  • So I propose that the reason older people are now being billed as ‘becoming a burden’, is that (2011) Barely 10% of total care provision remains in state hands and the private care sector needs ‘growth’ for its shareholder investors. Diverting pensioner wealth and government pension provision into residential social care funding is the only way that can be done – in the short-term at least.

and todays headlines? =  – a crisis deliberately created by those with vested interests in private ownership of the care system?

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Joint the quiet revolution: 10 first ethical steps for low income households to help defeat the establishment and protect the planet & yourself


  1. Switch your gas and electric away from the big six – go green

  1. Read the news online – from more than one source – stop picking up the free papers

  1. Get a basic bank account that has no charges and does not let you overdraw

  1. Recycle absolutely everything you can and harass your council to do more

  1. Buy second-hand from local not national charity shops

  1. Walk in preference to any other form of transport – even public transport is internationally owned

  1. Learn to cook fresh food – stop buying stuff in packets and jars – 10 companies control most of the products you buy

  1. Buy British – stop using the pound shops – for example Poundland now owned by South African Company Steinhoff

  1. Shop local – use the markets and local traders

  1. Use the library to learn more and keep information free to all



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The authenticity of spiritual practitioners



Before I write, I will lay my credentials on the table:

I started my training as a spiritual healer in 1999 under the watchful eye of an elder of the Christian Spiritualist Centre in British Columbia. I continued it here in the UK. First with the Corinthian Church from 2000, with the Lancashire and District healers and finally with the National Federation of Spiritual Healers. All in all, I probably did over 2/300 hours of hands on training plus studying the appropriate texts.  I did a healing apprenticeship if you like, over a five-year period during which time I worked as a volunteer in healing centres across Lancashire, alongside dozens of other healers of varying degrees of experience. I also undertook some Shamanic training in the Norse tradition and became a practising dowser. Ten years down the line, I trained to Reike Master level and discovered that I could read the cards as a means of counselling those in need of help. I became aware of angels as I studied comparative religion at degree level and found an affinity with the basics of buddhist philosophy, although I am not a practitioner of any religion.

Let me tell you up front. None of the above taught me how to heal or how to be psychic.

What they did teach me were the skills I needed to develop my gifts and to use them to help other people in a safe, respectful and professional manner: Self control, empathy, discretion, a grounded attitude to the energies flowing through me and the knowledge that I was only the channel for, not the originator of, whatever the person in front of me was experiencing. That what I was experiencing was only my interpretation of reality, not what others could or should be experiencing.

Given my interest in the Universe as a co-creative healing partner,  I now prefer to call myself a natural healer. Keeping it simple. The three core values that I aspire to are honesty, integrity and love. Values that today are needed more than ever as we deal with the confused society around us.

So with all this behind me, I am confident enough now, some 17 years down the line, to speak out about what seems to be the rapid growth in what I call ‘spiritual inauthenticity’ this last year or two. Something I fear will only increase as people look to find answers in the midst of the current chaos of Brexit and Trump.

Politics aside, what has got me worked up enough to write this blog is the recent emergence of self appointed ‘western masters’ of spiritual practice who offer ‘personal transformation’ at very high cost. Some of them are people who I knew when they were just ‘Joe Bloggs’ only a few years back on the spiritual path. They now offer ‘transformational’ activities that I would really like the trading standards people to start looking at more closely. In my world view, they are not ‘masters’, they are ‘experiencers’ on a spiritual path with the rest of us (but with less transparency). They remind me of the American religious channels, all shout but no substance. At a time when connectivity with all of our own kind and the planet is the key to our very survival, their way is not the only way, despite the slick marketing.

I would say truthfully that all that can be done for the person wanting to follow a spiritual path is to hold for them a space that can support them into their own learning. That holding takes more time and effort than a course or a workshop can offer. Spiritual transformation is personal development and no-one can give it to you in a couple of hours, or in a weekend or even on a retreat. You have to do the hard work yourself and it is a forever thing.  There is no fast track to success, no matter whatever beguiling theory or spiritual practice that anyone tries to sell you. It is the journey that matters, not the outcome.

I live in hope (literally in Hope Street) and hope is ‘that beautiful place between the way things were and the way things are  yet to be’ (source anonymous) and I believe the time has now arrived when all of us who are aware of our spiritual gifts are beholden to help others do the same.

Such interactions should probably no longer include money changing hands and if we are to be authentic practitioners, we must now expect other methods of being rewarded for giving of ourselves. Of course we will still need to have money coming in to pay the bills as long as we continue to live in a consumer based society, but my experience over the last few years is that non-monetary exchanges are already becoming the norm, in many alternative fields of endeavour.

Willingly putting myself in the flow of such abundance, by giving so much of it away, has more than been matched by a sufficiency of funds to keep a roof over my head and food on the table. In addition, I have gained an unexpected richness to my life that is increasingly important to me as I gently slide into my retirement years.

How wonderful would it be if  the ‘western masters’ remembered that it is act of the giving that fuels their own spiritual development and personal prosperity.?


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I am Human?


Last week I went to watch the film ‘Human’ put out by Paradigm Screenings. The film was a montage of people’s stories sandwiched between glorious aerial cinematic photography of the planet. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The stories centred around the universal human themes such love, life & death, happiness, dreams for the future. They were told from the point of view of the poor, the dispossessed, the bereaved and brought to mind a recent Guardian article about the missing voice of the working class.

Following on from the film, there was an audience discussion led by a panel of academics and whilst it was clear that the stories had touched many people deeply, I realised that I had experienced a different film from everyone else. Most of the discussion was about the anthropological and political aspects of the film and the intent of the filmmaker (Yann Arthus- Bertrand). It was, to my ears, a dry, academic and analytical discourse…

and I wondered am I not human?

I had sat spellbound at the sight of ancient deserts and salt lakes, huge river basins and the sheer destructive power of wild water as it tumbled down rock faces and across the ocean floor. I had seen a portrayal of the insignificance of the human condition in the face of the breathtaking magnificence of planet Earth, seemingly filmed from the point of view of a soaring eagle.  All of this, for me at least, dwarfed into insignificance both the scenes of human activity despoiling all that it touched and the moving individual stories that were told by means of headshots direct to the camera.

It was the very insignificance of mankind on the planet that the film brought home. How our lives means so very little when framed by the bigger picture. I came away thinking about Anastasia and her philosophy that we are here to co-create. That we alone as a resident species have the power to make the Earth even more beautiful than it already is.

For me the film showed how badly wrong we are getting this. For me the message of the film was that the planet can survive without mankind, but that we are so wrapped up in the experiences of our brief lives, that we have forgotten how we depend on it for our very existence. That the ongoing relationship between us and our home planet will only work if we nurture its abundance and respect it awesome powers.

(The photograph above of a tree spirit apparently in great pain was taken in Blakely New Forest in Manchester by myself. I did give healing to the tree at the time)
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Past peak social media?

I think I have reached exhaustion point with social media. What with the Jeremy situation, my anti-fracking involvement and Rammylitfest, plus my mostly on-line employment, my brain hurts every time I look at a screen! This last week of fine weather is to blame!

14040000_10153910130842428_7132007774630722557_n It started with me in the park reading eco-poetry, dressed in my ‘nana against fracking‘ outfit, thoroughly enjoying the gentle ambiance of the ‘love earth’ day and the lovely people who took part.

I am a good weather gardener and so much of the following few days of fine weather, warm enough for me to find some energy, has been spent outside in our communal gardens, planning how I will develop them into a sanctuary that is wildlife friendly and as a result, as the rain drives me back indoors, I find I have lost interest in all except ‘the real world’.

It is strange how life overlaps though. An anti-fracking meeting this week found me in the Quaker house at Blackburn, a very special place where I both did and received a lot of healing some years ago. It was delightful to be in there again and I am afraid I was lost in reverie with spirit throughout most of the meeting, so did not take note of most of the proceedings.

As I watch the dark overgrown shrubbery and tree behind my flat finally getting reduced to more manageable levels, letting natural light back into my home, my mind is back where it belongs,with the earth and with spirit…WP_20160819_10_04_35_Proand it’s not just me …

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