Meanwhile, I looked up into our old Bramley tree in our garden this morning and saw a bracket fungus, fairly high up. I used a garden rake, attached to another long pole, to bring it down. It was Inonotus hispidus or Shaggy Bracket. I have mostly seen it on Ash or, rather, on the ground below an Ash, and the only one I can remember seeing alive on a tree was years ago in Epping Forest, where it was at head height on Sorbus torminalis, Wild Service-tree. The books tell me it often grows on garden apple trees too, but I don't often get an opportunity to have a fungus foray in anyone's garden except mine.
But this one is significant on this tree. I don't know for certain when it was planted, but I guess it was around 1932 when the house was built and the garden new. Over the years our tree has provided variable loads of apples and has been host to a wide variety of tiny insects and other invertebrates, nearly all malign. So much so that now, according to my old gardening book, it has nearly all the plagues known to apple trees. A few years ago it was host to a large crop of Armillarea mellea,Honey Fungus, which sprouted next to it, and is a well-known destroyer of trees of many kinds. Now it has Shaggy Bracket as well. It also has very few apples, but nearly all have fallen to the ground due to strong winds recently, even though not yet ripe. I consider this to be its final nail in its coffin. But we won't cut it down yet, as it may host more interesting things before its final demise, and, indeed, after it. It would be nice to have Stag Beetles in my garden, for example, and other fungi. Who knows!