Thanks to everyone who got in touch after my last post. I wrote about the size of this Monkey Map project and the demands on my time to keep it updated. I was very touched by all your comments, and especially so as there seems to be a real desire for this not to become ‘just’ a database, but for it to be a real project with real people sharing their pleasure of monkey puzzle trees. That’s good!
Meanwhile, here in Liverpool spring is arriving.
One of most favourite of all sights, yes I think I love this more than monkey puzzle trees, is the arrival of the snowdrops.
And of course, enjoying the growing light and general gardening. But today is ‘wet play’ so I have been updating the growing pile of monkeys waiting my attention. Thank you all for continuing enthusiasm.
I have a further challenge for you all.
The Monkey Map is an adventure, a group of real explorers out there finding monkeys with our cameras. It’s the sound of ‘There’s one!’, sudden standstills and dangerously screeching to a halt, partly investigating down people’s driveways…. you know, you’ve all done it. Real memories, real photos of the day you found ‘that monkey’. And that is mostly how the monkeys for this site are found. But, we’ve all done it, been too busy, or without a camera, and have resorted to Google Streetview to record our find. Whenever I’ve done this, I’ve sort of felt like I was cheating slightly… so I’ve made a decision about that.
From now on, I will only accept entries to the Monkey Map who have been found by people who went looking for them and took photos at the time. I have been inspired by Agent Green, who has his own blog, and he is doing a similar project to mine, but only catalogues trees he has actually seen in person.
He’s always liked monkey puzzle trees, and as a child planted one in the family garden. His blog started a few years ago after he went to a talk about botanical highlights of Chile, and, he writes, ‘As we left the plush surroundings of Belgrave Square I thought to myself that I really should try and see as many Monkey Puzzle trees as I could.’ Which he does. And, much like myself and others here on the blog, will make special outings to look for monkey puzzle trees. He writes about a recent monkey day out here, spotting monkey puzzle trees and a pub lunch. Lovely! A perfect description of how we monkey puzzle hunters might choose to spend a day. Plus Agent Green has easily launched both LU and UB postcode areas into full representation. Good work!
So what’s the next challenge? Well, the next challenge is still about postcodes. I set the original Postcode challenge at the end of November. At the time, there were 2,425 trees catalogued, with 19 postcodes in the UK not represented with any monkey puzzle trees. Within days you had all got to work and over the next few weeks got plenty of those postcode areas represented, and the final postcode finds were reported from ZE – here.
I was surprised that the Postcode challenge really caught the attention of you all, so I’ve decided to extend it. As I’ve mentioned above, I will now no longer accept Google Streetview trees. Yes it’s OK I can make up the rules, it’s my blog.
So, although I have received some postcode finds in that format, for which you might have been hoping to receive the accolade of ‘first’, then you won’t. I have catalogued some finds in TA and SP, but those postcode areas are still without real representation. In addition I had a find for CR, but Moira O’Donnell has come through with two trees she knows about, as she lives in the area, thank you Moira. When I first saw ‘her’ trees I thought it must be a typo as it says ‘CR0’ for the postcode. But – I’ve discovered a fascinating fact (and this is exactly the sort of thing a database won’t tell you). This is from Wikipedia:
Croydon was the second town to have experimental postcodes, introduced in 1966 (Norwich having been the first). The system originally introduced included the postcode area CRO (letter ‘O’), while Norwich used NOR for its equivalent. It was decided that the outward (first) part of a postcode should be alphanumerical, so CRO became CR0 (digit ‘0’) and NOR became NR1. The CR1 postcode has not been introduced, making CR the only postcode area with a district 0 but not a district 1.
So, a very unique postcode too – CR0. Welcome to Croydon, and thanks Moira for submitting the trees through the submissions form (having posted on Twitter first).
The challenge ahead is to complete the postcode challenge, but only with trees you have seen in person, real finds as described above. Agent Millwall MPT has set her own personal challenge of finding one in EC, as you may recall both EC and WC (central London) are proving elusive.
The trees still outstanding then are:
In the South West – SP and TA.
In London and South East – EC, IG, RM, SG, WC.
So the catalogue is now currently at 2,895 trees, with probably around 140 in my pending folder. Looks like I’ll be heading for 3,000 very soon. For the time being I am adding trees to the spreadsheet, and will add them to the Google map first, and then the photo catalogue – as time allows, as they are the most time consuming elements. I would love to find a way to streamline that….
Please be reassured, that all finds are being catalogued and filed in their respective postcode folders for future mapping, thank you all for sending them in.
Also to make things easier for me, I have updated the submissions page, and I now require that you send me your finds through that form, as it keeps all the information together for me. Thanks. At the moment, you can’t send image files through that so will need to email me separately for now with the address of the tree in the title so it’s easy to match up with your form details. Thanks.
So – keep your eyes peeled folks!
This ‘Monkey Map’ project is a personal project and the work of me, Sarah Horton.
I am helped by my task of cataloguing all monkeys by keen monkey puzzle hunters who also do this in their free time.
Thank you everyone for your support.