On Tuesday, I was on the daytime Channel 4 show, Steph’s Packed lunch, and also on was a wonderful old woman called Barbara Weatherill. Ninety-six, lively smiling eyes, good mobility, a stack of military medals proudly worn across her chest, and full of good advice for young and old alike. Asked the secret of a long and happy life, a love of nature was high up her list.

Now 64, I’m 32 years behind war veteran Barbara in the age stakes, but the older I get, the more I concur with that view. If you follow me on social media, you will be aware of my relatively new-found obsession with trees, and the daily posting of my Tree of the Day. I am glad it seems to bring a lot of pleasure to fellow tree-lovers. It gives me a lot of pleasure every single day. Check out today’s winner above … the height, the colours, the majesty.

And talking of majesty, Her Majesty (THE Her Majesty, HMQ) has launched a new tree-planting initiative in which I will be taking part in Bradford on Saturday. The Queen’s Green Canopy is part of the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations and, to mark the start of National Tree week, QGC is unveiling its first ‘urban forest,’ planting 10,000 trees at Newhall Park in Bradford.

Working in partnership with Trees for Cities and the City of Bradford Metropolitan Council, the QGC is bringing together the local community, school students and voluntary groups of all ages to plant the 10,000 trees. The project contributes to the Council’s ‘Tree for Every Child’ programme, which forms part of a broader plan to plant 55,000 trees over the next three years. 

I spent the first eleven years of my life in West Yorkshire and I think travelling around with my dad on his vet’s rounds visiting farms was when I first experienced the power and the pull of beautiful scenery. Trees are so important to that, and so important to our urban life too. But above all we perhaps know more than ever now, in the wake of the recent COP, that they are vital to our future survival, and that of other species. So there are so many reasons to want to be there and to be part of this. Added to which it will give me an easy selection for my Tree of the Day.

My best mate from primary school, John Bailey, is coming, and if anyone else is interested in joining us, volunteers can sign up here

Sticking with nature, and staying in Yorkshire, next week sees the transmission of BBC4’s new series of Winter Walks, four programmes run over consecutive days, one of them presented by yours truly. As you can see from the BBC publicity photo at the top, it was filmed not long after Fiona sheared off my hair in lockdown. Most of the time I am in a thick woolly hat, though, because it was so, so, cold. But so, so beautiful, as I spent a day walking in the Dales, filming myself on a 360 degree camera stuck to a selfie stick. and talking to myself. Sounds weird, but it works. The series starts on Monday, mine is on Tuesday. I hope you tune in, and enjoy it.

I also hope you noticed there was not a single slagging off of the government in today’s blog … if you feel deprived, you can catch up with today’s Instagram Live ramble, recorded earlier when walking the dog … P.s I will be going to Bradford from Wigan, where I have a mental health partnership event with the Wigan Warriors rugby league team tomorrow (exciting developments to report for the brilliant new website JAAQ.) I have just learned it takes longer to get from Wigan to Bradford by train than it takes from Wigan to London. It is also eighty minutes quicker by car. So much for Levelling Up, the Northern Powerhouse, and the Green Revolution. The rail betrayal is deep. The Johnson slogans are shallow. But enough of politics …. my Royal duties beckon!