October flowers (and nuts)

Beech mast by Margaret Erskine Wilson. All right reserved (www.owlingabout.co.uk)The weather was glorious at the weekend so we took the chance to get out on some lovely walks. We collected acorns, raced autumn leaves down a brook, crunched our way over beech husks, spotted a jay, and found a pale tussock caterpillar. Here is Margaret Erskine Wilson’s wonderful painting of beechmast. I’ll be honest I’m a bit confused about the word “mast” and am not entirely sure how to use it. Does it refer to just the nuts or the husks as well? Are beech nuts always called beechmast or only when it’s a particularly productive year? Is “mast” a verb as well as a noun? If any of you are able to clear that up for me I’d be super pleased.

In other news Finch has been learning the song There was an old lady who swallowed a fly at pre-school, and it has been causing him some consternation. Without any preamble, and at the most inopportune moments he keeps pronouncing, “Perhaps she’ll die!” You can imagine how that goes down in the Post Office queue. One evening he raised his fork and glowered across the table at Wren, “Stop talking Wren or you might die!” Big Dreamer nearly choked on his spaghetti but she just shook a fistful of bolognese back at him. It’s like having a pint-sized Private Frazer around the house. Anyway, I’m looking at sending him back to the factory for a reboot soon so I’m sure normal service will resume after that (I’m joking!).

We are away on holiday next week so no post from me but I shall return!

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