In the centre of the lawn at the Damson Dene Hotel is a lovely Damson Tree, under which is a plaque which reads:
‘This Damson Tree was planted by Viscount Tonypandy on the 8th July 1993’
Lord Tonypandy was the Speaker of the House of Commons at the time when proceedings were first televised (he was then known as George Thomas), whose Welsh-accented cries of “Order, Order” were so well known. At the time when I bought the Damson Dene Hotel, ten years ago, Lord Tonypandy’s tree was in a very sorry state, unable to bear fruit and obviously on its way out. I invited our local Tory MP, Tim Collins, who was in the Shadow Cabinet and destined for greatness, to plant a replacement. A planting ceremony took place, which was well publicised in the local papers. Tim’s tree thrived, while Lord Tonypandy’s continued to decline.
Then, to everyone’s surprise, Tim Collins lost his seat in the general election of 2005. He left politics as well as the House of Commons. From that moment on, his tree fell into decline. Within a year it was dead. But at the same time, Lord Tonypandy’s took on a new lease of life. Now, five years later it has made a full recovery and for the first time is laden with fruit. There is no moral to this tale.