Alan Wood

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More Root Bridges

Root Bridges of India

Alan's vacation to South India

Cherrapunjee Cemetery

Kohima War Cemetery

Hooking a Bird

February 18 2010

Alan Wood has come up with more snaps of Root Bridges--he says :

Here are some snaps of a living root bridge I took last Thursday
11/2/2010 near Mawlynnong Village, (Meghalaya), the cleanest village in India. Ali Zaman and his wife Shireen
were here from Calcutta on a short holiday.

Ellen Wood, Shireen and Ali Zaman

Ali Zaman (Ex Magors) on the bridge.

Alan Wood himself on the bridge.

The root bridge.

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January 27 2010

We have to thank Alan Wood and Ali Zaman for getting this very interesting tale of living 
bridges to the Editor ------ Thank you gentlemen

Root Bridges of India
(Courtesy Brig VK Sharama) 

In the depths of northeastern India, in one of the wettest places on earth, bridges
 aren't built -- they're grown.


Grown from the roots of a rubber tree, the Khasis people of Cherapunjee use betel-tree trunks, sliced down the middle and hollowed out, to create "root-guidance systems." When they reach the other side of the river, they're allowed to take root in the soil. Given enough time a sturdy, living bridge is produced.

The root bridges, some of which are over a hundred feet long, take ten to fifteen years to become fully functional, but they're extraordinarily strong. Some can support the weight of 50 or more people at once.

One of the most unique root structures of Cherrapunjee is known as the "Umshiang Double-Decker Root Bridge." It consists of two bridges stacked one over the other!

Because the bridges are alive and still growing, they actually gain strength over
 time, and some of the ancient root bridges used daily by the people of the villages 
around Cherrapunjee may be well over 500 years old.

But these are not the only bridges built from growing plants. 
Japan too, has its own form of living bridges.


These are The Vine Bridges of Iya Valley.....

One of Japan's three "hidden" valleys, West Iya is home to the kind of misty gorges, clear rivers, and thatched roofs one imagines in the Japan of centuries ago. To get across the Iya River that runs through the rough valley terrain, bandits, warriors and refugees created a very special - if slightly unsteady - bridge made of vines.

This is a picture from the 1880s of one of the original vine bridges.

First, two Wisteria vines -- one of the strongest vines known -- were grown to extraordinary lengths from either side of the river. Once the vines had reached a sufficient length they were woven together with planking to create a pliable, durable and, most importantly, living piece of botanical engineering.

The bridges had no sides, and a Japanese historical source relates that the original vine bridges were so unstable, those attempting to cross them for the first time would often freeze in place, unable to go any farther.

Three of those vine bridges remain in Iya Valley. While some (though apparently not all) of the bridges have been reinforced with wire and side rails, they are still harrowing to cross. More than 140 feet long, with planks set six to eight inches apart and a drop of four-and-a-half stories down to the water, they are not for acrophobes.


Some people believe the existing vine bridges were first grown in the 12th century, which would make them some of the oldest known examples of living architecture in the world.

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March 11 2007
We are pleased to be able to show Alan and Ellen's recent vacation in Kerala and to be able to publicise the services available

Ellen & Alan Wood on vacation

        Ellen, on board--  These boats come in 1, 2, 3 or more AC bedrooms, with attached bathrooms, European toilets and kitchen. They take you for as many days as you want into the backwaters of Kerala. Very nice, peaceful and relaxing.

        Alan & Ellen  relaxing on deck of the back-water boat.

Ashley Larkins (ex Moran Tea Co.) & Alan Wood going fishing in Goa

 A fine group at Ashley and Patricia Larkins home in Goa

(Back Row Left to right)  Ashley,\Larkins, Patricia Larkins, Alan Wood, David Isaacs (Ex Moran Co) 

 Middle Row Left to right
Theckla Rosario, (wife of late Vin of Moran Co), Ivy Demoss( w/o late Ken, Jardines & later with Mcneill), 

Front Row Left to Right
 Ellen Wood  and  Charmaine Issacs.

Alan and Ellen tell us ---The weather was lovely and warm down there. We got back on Wed, 31st Jan  to a cold and wet Shillong. It has been raining every evening.  Moreover, we are having load-shedding and power cuts because of the low level of water in the Barapani Lake due to  poor rainfall last year.


May 8 2006

Alan recently sent us the following and we thank him--Editor

On 29th April, the Vicar of All Saint's Cathedral, Shillong together with about 60 members belonging to the Church of North India ( formally The Church of England ), went to Sohra (Cherrapunjee) and held a simple service at the very old British cemetery. 
        This cemetery dates back to the early 1800s. There are about 30 graves of the first administrators and their family who must have come up to these hills via Sylhet. The British first set up their head-quarter at Cherra and later moved to Shillong.  As years went by the cemetery was neglected with no one responsible for it's maintenance. 
        The cemetery has now been officially handed over to the Church of North India (CNI), Shillong and they will take care of it in future.  

Here are some photographs taken on that day which may be of interest to you. Most of the inscriptions have worn, faded or missing from the graves. 
The new sign board. " Lum Phareng " means European Hill. It has been set on the north side of the cemetery and can be easily seen from the main road going to the waterfalls.  

 A view of the cemetery. A few of the tombstones, made of hard granite, are still standing.

The new sign board. " Lum Phareng " means European Hill. It has been set on the north side of the cemetery and can be easily seen from the main road going to the waterfalls

A view of the cemetery. A few of the tombstones, 
made of hard granite, are still standing.

Gravestone of Edgar Augustine Bath died age 47 in 1891

Gravestone from the 1800's

The service conducted by Rev: Presly Lyngdoh

Another view of the service conducted by the Rev Presly Lyngdoh


May 5 2006 Alan & Ellen Wood recently visited Kohima and snapped  these wonderful sentimental photographs for the rest of us to enjoy  -enroute they crossed Murphulani where Alan's father served as a Manger in the 40's.

Thank you Ellen and Alan

  The Kohima War Cemetery of WW II.


1.    War graves from the Battle of Kohima overlooking the town.

2     The famous tennis court in the Deputy Commissioner's bungalow compound-at one time of the battle, dubbed "The Battle of the Tennis Court" it was only the two ends of the  tennis court which separated the allied and Japanese forces.

3.    Epitaph.

4.   A new sapling growing at the site of the orginal 'cherry tree'. A camoflaged Japanese sniper had tied himself to the tree and caused much damage among the Allied troops before being silenced.

5   Caretakers of the cemetry.

6.  A famous War Memorial.  

April 2 2006

Alan Wood kindly sent in this fishing story which is DIFFERENT--thanks Alan

"Hooking a Bird"

Here is a true story of me catching a small Swift (bird) with a fishing lure.

On 29th March 2006, my brother, James and I, (on one boat) and Colin Lamare & Mark Lynrah( on another ) were rafting and fishing the Bhorelli River in Assam. We reached an area known as Upor Dikhorai at about 3.45 PM. A lot of Swifts were flying over the river catching small insects or whatever. I casted a Mepps 4 Spinner towards the middle of the river and almost immediately I saw a Swift plunging into the water close to where the spinner had dropped. I saw the bird disappear under the water. I told my brother and the boatmen about it. As I was reeling in and at about 25 to 30 feet the bird surfaced at the end of my line(spinner). At about 15 ft it disentangled or unhooked itself and fluttered to the bank. Kali and Suresh, the boatmen, retrieved the bird which was looking very wet and sorry for itself but did not appear to have been injured. After taking a few snaps, I put the bird on a branch by the banks. I can't think what made it go for the spinner. It could be that it mistook the spinner for an insect of some kind and it's wing or feather got entangled with the hook or line.

The two snaps were taken by my brother,James(Jimmy) .