Wednesday, 15 October 2014


"The Gruffalo" by Julia Donaldson.  Illustrated by Alex Sheffer.

If you go down in the woods today ...............
make sure it's Hamsterley Forest near Bishop Auckland.

Take the children across the impressive new bridge that spans the river and follow the Gruffalo trail through the trees.


Cross the wood and metal bridge.
...
Enjoy the reflections in the water before you reach  . . ..

 . . . this board.
Search for animals high


Scuff your shoes through the dead leaves on the ground
and listen for the eerie call of the birds above your head.
and low.
Walk on until at last you
spot this sign:-




And opposite it, standing in a clearing,there he is - The Gruffalo,bigger than a man but friendly in his  own ugly way!

Monday, 6 October 2014


Autumn is here.
 Not only has the weather changed from sunshine to showers and the temperature dropped 
by several degrees but yesterday morning Radio 4 officially declared Autumn, Open.
They advised comfort food for freedom – Risotto made with mushrooms and served with special risotto rice which they say is lava-like and most appropriate for this time of year; deliberately misquoting Keats’ famous poem as “Mushrooms and Mellow Fruitfulness.”

John Keats
To Autumn

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
    Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
    With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;


I must admit I look forward to piping-hot meals and especially to puddings and tarts made with the fruit so recently  harvested; served with gloriously thick custard.  Such a welcome change from salads, no matter how tastefully they were disguised or how they enhanced our figures. Winter walks will soon remove those extra inches and if not . . .  there’s always next summer!