“It’s raining, should we still go?” I looked outside as if to acknowledge the question, even though I had just come in from cleaning out the hen house. I replied that we should go, we would be mad not to. The lovely Sharon’s question was not about the fact that we should go walking in the rain, it was about getting stuck in a heavy downpour with the little ones. The weather front seemed slow moving and more damp than menacing.

Wrapped up in layers and hats, we found ourselves in Acorn Wood. We have found ourselves visiting here a lot recently. Acorn Wood has been set up by its local community of volunteers who look after its grounds, ducks, geese, swans, chickens, rabbits, guinea fowl and pheasants. It even has a little fairy village hidden away in the woods, but I think they look after themselves.


There was water all around us. Water drizzling from the sky, water dripping from the points of twigs and yellow leaves. Water splatting in the puddles under our feet and a soft fur of water covering the hats on our heads. Even our breath was saturated and wet the air in front of us. In such weather at this time of year I can’t help myself from constantly stopping and staring. Gazing at the running river, at piles of fallen leaves, at rooks in the trees.


After a few hours the thought of food and the wood stove brought us home. After a wet autumn walk I can think of no better smell than that of damp hats and gloves drying by the stove. Later there was a different smell from the stove. Autumn is the season for rolling out fistfuls of hazelnuts on top of the wood stove. We sit back and patiently wait for the slight hint of burning before we lift them off and try and eat them when they are too hot and burn our fingers. The lovely Sharon believes roasted chestnuts are superior to hazelnuts. I will have to disagree with her on this matter.


It has been discovered that hazelnuts were harvested in large amounts on the Scottish island of Colonsay nine thousand years ago. Annually, neolithic man made a trip to the trees and collected them to roast them on the island in what must have been very large fires. It seems that roasted hazelnuts can be stored longer than fresh ones, a fact we knew nine thousand years before best before dates. I can’t help but picture them sitting around the fire on a damp autumn night with the smell of roasting nuts and drying hats.

So there I was reading the little man his bedtime book. We delved into the realms of story and make believe, a world with morals and lessons around every corner. This particular story (spoiler alert) was about a tiger who did not want to go to bed. His mother decided to let him learn his lesson and told him he could stay up all night. He went searching for his friends, the lion, hippo, elephant etc. only to find them all in various stages of bedtime preparation. Eventually he wandered back home exhausted and regretting not going to bed. This was a nice little story which was spoiled by the visit to the elephants.

I know there is something wrong with me, but seeing the moon like that upset me so much. It could not be unseen. With the setting sun on the right the moon should be a crescent facing the other way around as it is lit up by the sun. The same realisation happens when I see actors drinking from empty cups.

It ruined it for me. I know it shouldn’t upset me, but it does.

There are some unexpected aspects of pregnancy that you don’t read about in books.  One of these is the ratchet effect.  This is a consequence of having a large bump and having to sleep on the left side of your body.  For many nights now I have observed the ratchet effect in the lovely Sharon.  She lies on her left side until she feels uncomfortable.  Then she turns onto her back momentarily before turning back onto her left side.  When this happens the bump takes the bedsheets with it.  When this repeats itself over and over in the night it leaves me with the edge of the sheets feeling cold.  For some reason I just let it happen and i’m not sure why.  It could be that it forces me closer to her so that I can bury my nose in her hair.  The tickly-ness of her hair is worth enduring for the lovely smell.  Or it could be because I am scared of waking her and facing the anger of the ratchet.

An accurately labeled coffee mug.

Topologically accurate.

A bubble inside a drop of water, on board the space station.

by André Kuipers

lego bridge – source

well played google

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