It was a shock when I cycled past Marlborough Avenue that day. It was Monday 3 Feb I think. There was something unusual happening at 8 o’clock that morning. Sawdust carpeted both sides of the street, branchless trees quivered in the chilly morning air. Where the branches used to be, there were yellow scars like startled eyes. People with high visibility jackets and monstrous machinery laughed heartlessly. The north end of Marlborough Avenue witnessed a slaughter. It was like a bad dream.
I always think trees and aeroplanes are very lonely things. An aeroplane sees the most colourful sunrises and sparkly fireworks, it flies through bumpy clouds and fierce storms. But it has no company. No one shares any of these. So it is with trees. Two trees can stand next to each other. A street can be lined with trees. But they can’t touch each other for years and years, if only they survive all the thunderstorms and gusts, if only they survive all the pests and diseases, until they’re very very big, until they’re arching the street. Then, maybe only then, tree lovers can finally hold hands.
The next day I went past, apart from one single tree, none had survived. I can’t count the exact number, because some of the evidence has already been covered up. But on those fateful days about 10 to 15 mature trees got cut down mercilessly.
Marlborough Avenue was a lovely street just two weeks ago. But now you can only see its loveliness in Google Maps Street View. Marlborough Avenue is a residential street near Regent Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne. We spent the afternoon taking photos and put them together for you to see. The images on top are from Google Street View June 2012; while the pictures at the bottom are taken this afternoon, 15 Feb 2014.
The holes have been filled up with new tarmac already, which makes me think the council might not replace the trees after all.
The sawdust is still on the ground. The clear cut surface tells how old this tree was when it was killed. You can see two more tree remains of similar size behind me. Council might replace them with new trees, but this is a nearby street with young trees on: