What a lovely way you have with words, to paint word-pictures of history as well as the present, and with real pictures as well. Your query about why trees are falling down more than hitherto: One obvious suggestion is that as the trees age, they are more likely to fall over, especially noticeable if the current trees were mostly planted at about the same time and thus ageing together. Another suggestion is that global warming would be expected to bring more energetic and thus chaotic weather, causing more extremes of weather. Since the gale of 1987, gales have been more frequent, often accompanied by heavy rain, and it is no surprise, then, that more trees are falling down. Given the extreme weather of the past 3 or 4 weeks, even more trees are falling over or losing big branches!
With a bit of luck, spring is not too far away and trees will leaf again and the sun shine. Well, no harm in hoping!