The wind reached its fiercest around midday on Thursday. We got off lightly at work; the door of the old mushroom shed I work in blew open and the window is now held together with parcel tape. The surprise came when I got home. When I asked whether they'd lost any trees (not that there are many left to lose) Mum said that the apple tree in the garden had gone. I looked at my sister who was there picking up my babysat nephews and, even though it was by now pitch dark, we both ran outside to check. Our tree! MY tree. Everyone's tree; laying propped up by the old cypress Mum's wanted gone for years. The WRONG tree. My Great-Grandfather took this property over in 1948 and the tree was around then. My mother was 13 and would have known it; I learned to climb in its branches and used to swing down from one particular one, gone a few years now. I would sit in a high crook with a book and read and sleep, occasionally eating an apple. They were tart but crisp. "Don't eat those, you'll get stomach ache" Mum would yell out from the kitchen window. Never did. I developed a good throwing arm from aiming the unripe or rotting windfalls over a tree in the field next door. My own children and my nephews have climbed it and sat beneath the branches too. One tree, 59 years and four generations. Tomorrow it will be sawn up and the fibres that have processed tons of CO2 over the years will be used to heat the house during the forthcoming forecast cold snap. In fact, my Dad, who has little sentiment for this kind of thing, had already started to saw bits off it. I said not to do any more until he'd taken pictures of it at least. It's a member of the family, no need to be too hasty with the funeral, it hasn't left a will.