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I am in the land of trees again (with warm thanks to everyone who commented on ‘Talking to Trees’ a few weeks back). This time, my starting point is a bit dispiriting. The child health journal Acta Paediatrica has just published research measuring the strength of 350 ten year-olds against a similar group who were measured ten years earlier. The findings show that our children are getting feebler: arm strength is 26% down; the ability to do sit-ups has plummeted. Children can’t climb trees the way they used to.

The bluebells are in flower –hurrah!

I have been absorbed in an interesting exchange with one of my authors. She’s retelling a traditional story from Korea, about an encounter between a tiger and a merchant. The merchant rescues the tiger from a pit, and the tiger then tries to eat him. The merchant manages to avert death in the tiger’s jaws by insisting that one good deed should follow another. The two of them decide they need an adjudicator – in fact, they end up agreeing that they need three.