Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Dendrochronology (I can say it right too!)

... or as they explained at the session, 'ology'- the study of something, 'chronos'- time, and 'Dendro'- tree runks/rings... except the other way round.

I went to a class on Saturday, unsure of what to expect. It was such a lovely walk there along the river by golf course- the day was nigh on perfect, sunny and toasty with it.

It's due to my camera clicking compulsion that by the time I finally reached Amisfield (the walled garden was to be the setting for our education), my already depleted camera battery gave up the ghost and declared itself caput. Hence I'm now awaiting photos actually relevant to event itself to be mailed me by the lady who organised the whole thing (thankyou!).

... aaanyhoo, there were seven of us in all I think- including the Dendrochronologist and organiser, and it was quite a relaxed atmosphere, pleasant to be with people who were there because of a genuine interest in the subject. Following on this train of thought, apparently there are only around ten Archeodendrochronologists in the entire country (there are different branches of Dendrochronology, we were informed, but I would hesitate to try and specify the distinctions). I must say I'm quite surprised- I would have thought working in this way with trees would have appealed to rather more people... but there you go, perhaps they haven't heard of it? I certainly hadn't.

Coralie took us through quite a number of (as she pointed out, lamenated) sheets of a ex-powerpoint. These talked about everything from the structure of the trunk, to how Dendrochronology can be put to use in a number of situations, to her and her partner's work in the field.

We were sitting outside on a lawn amongst some smallish trees, but to take a sample we exited to garden and headed around the wall to a sizable sicamore. Here Coralie brought out some sharpish contraptions and began manually boring a hole in the tree. The idea is that the middle of the hole travels up the keen-edged tube which she was rotating into the trunk, and then this sample could be retrieved, mounted and examined. The hole in the tree eventually closes up because of the tree's own weight.

And then it was over...

I ambled home into Haddington with fellow now-slightly-more-informed-person Jim, who was heading the same way, and effectively collapsed and was lazy for the remainder of the day- excepting a few minor incidents where my compulsive tidying habit forced me to leap up and briefly knock something (or someone; yes Lyovka, I'm looking at you) into place or shape.

But that is nothing out of the ordinary.

There, I think at last I have been able to write something pretty much entirely relevant to the Blog title. I am pleased.

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