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In a horse, temperament is going to make one’s life harder. In a daughter: same. I cannot complain. Any aspect of temperament that my eldest shows has probably, in part, been handed down to her from me – her father being the most sanguine of people one might ever, and I mean ever, hope to meet.

It makes life interesting as they say, although I am never far away from thinking of that saying, that is a curse in disguise, may you live in interesting times. Anyway, so far today we have not had too many flashes of the famous temperament. A little snapping, yes, but thankfully no shouting or storming. What we have had is the most delightful expression of a minor artistic frustration to the mundane parental question, ‘What did you learn at school today?’

And so began a little outburst about the art lesson, which surprised me because this is one of her favourite subjects. It turns out however that now she is ten, going on eleven in a few weeks, she has not only a love of the subject, but an artistic view. It went a bit like this.

I do not like Mrs X at the moment because all she makes us draw is geometrical drawings, maths drawings. Last week we even had to draw the climbing frame. I like natural subjects, not maths drawings and we haven’t drawn living things for ages. And then, once, Mrs X picked the shiniest red apples from the tree, the ones that we aren’t allowed to eat and she put them in her oil pastels box. So we weren’t allowed to eat the apples and we weren’t allowed to draw them either. What a waste!

Here’s a silver birch tree close up. I would never want to eat one but I didn’t want to waste the beautiful textures.


The sky today

Blue cleft in two
By one white vapour trail…..
Above the pink pegs,
A grey-headed gull
Surfs translucent thermals…..
And a silver birch stretches
Blinking into the blue
Like me.


And I am reminded…
Of all the other blue skies
I have spent time under
And I wonder
If they are changed?
Like me
Or the same?
Like you
Is fixed as a collection of memories
In a daylight constellation.

December Days III

Silver birch: My Grandad’s favourite sort of tree – they always make me think of him.