Standing on top of the hill, wind blowing and cold lapping my face, it is exciting to think that this spot would soon be home to 7,000 new trees, if a little tricky to picture.
We’re in Craigmillar, Edinburgh, to plant the first shoots of a new woodland with our funding partner here, the People’s Postcode Lottery. We help unload the trees, some tiny and twig-like, others thorny whips and saplings, dodging the dug-out holes as the volunteers walk towards us: an eclectic mix: staff from People’s Postcode Lottery in their bright red hoodies, and a group of five women, residents and staff at The Thistle, local housing for people with long-term health conditions. Their grins stretch from ear to ear, gleaming against the pallid spring sky.
Trees are the lungs of the world, and we’re here to help Edinburgh breathe better!
It’s amazing how two groups of people who have never met can bond so quickly. While Ben, from Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust, gives an introduction on “how on earth to plant a tree”, the laughter turns into light teasing and soon everyone spreads out across the hill, clutching their chosen saplings.
Tree puns and one-liners abound, and especially from comedy duo Christopher and Heath who (admitting they’d come prepared) boldly proclaim that “trees are the lungs of the world, and we’re here to help Edinburgh breathe better!”
Then there is Helen, striking because of her smile that never stops, and the kaleidoscope of keyrings her wheelchair is almost buried under. She has everything from a decent proportion of the Smurf family to Pudsey and could tell a story about how she adopted each and every one of them.