Monday, 31 March 2008

Lifetime of a tree

One of the things that amused me in Istanbul was the way the corrugated iron lean-to roof of the Buyuk Yeni Han - a traders' courtyard - has been cut away around a huge tree, so that it looks as if the tree is actually growing through the roof.

Imagine then my delight when I found a picture of the same Han in Godfrey Goodwin's 'History of Ottoman architecture'. And there you can see the same tree, much younger and smaller, with a couple of other saplings now disappeared.

Somehow that tree has now become my tree. I've seen it as a baby, and I feel almost as if I've watched it grow. It's personal.

I've never really been an admirer of those books of old postcard photos - Historic Ilfracombe, Northallerton in the Old Days, whatever. But this single ancient photograph turned out to have a special meaning for me. Perhaps I'll look at those old-postcard books with a bit more sympathy in future.


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