Dear Readers,

I hope you are all in good health and high in spirits. Well, it looks like I’m in for a very quiet weekend by myself, Akiko, my wife and my two mischievous but very lovable kids, Emma and Oliver, are going camping to Shizuoka with some of their friends. All three of them went shopping yesterday and bought some sleeping bags and all sorts of other camping stuff yesterday ready for the trip, so when I got back to my less than desirable abode last night I was not surprised to find it all spread out on what bit of available floor space we have. Emma as usual telling me which sleeping bag was hers and why she’d chosen it, Oliver on the other hand was showing me a night lamp and some plastic boxes that he was going to use to catch Kabutomushi, which are beetles to the uninitiated amongst you. I was originally scheduled to go with them, but unfortunately due to one or two things I have to deal with in Tokyo over the weekend I couldn’t go. I have not yet been camping with my family, I have camped out in the past and I know how to put a tent up and make sure I don’t go hungry, but I’m at a bit of a loss when it comes to doing much more than that. I would love to learn how to distinguish what I can and can’t eat in god’s own larder, go out and forage for it and then cook it up and eat it. I know a bit about fungi, so I don’t think I’d ever die through eating poisonous mushrooms. If anything, I would probably get nobbled through eating some mountain vegetable or something that looks edible, but isn’t, that I pull off a tree. When I was a kid my dad used to take me into the countryside and he would teach me about things I could eat, such as plants and fruit and other things, I remember there was one special place that he used to take me where we could dig up and find fresh horseradish. For those of you out there that have tried to dig up horseradish you’ll know that it’s a heck of a bugger to dig up, it takes absolutely ages but it’s great when you grate it and add vinegar and make your own horseradish sauce. I have fond memories of my dad doing just that in our kitchen and I can see him now peeling the horseradish root, grating it and then serving it as a condiment for Yorkshire puddings and roast beef. Incidentally, if a horse eats horseradish, which it normally wouldn’t do, the horse would be poisoned, it wouldn’t die necessarily, but it would not feel too good on itself. I’m not sure what my lot will be eating, apparently, one of the mothers that is going is a bit of a dab hand at camping and all the things that go with it, so I’m looking forward to hearing the stories when they get back next Monday. I’ll be cooking for myself for a couple of days which I don’t mind because I like doing it, I think I might rustle myself up an authentic hot Indian curry or sorts tomorrow night, something I can’t usually do when the family is at home. Oh, and here’s a poem, well, not really as poem, rather a dozen or so randomly put together sentences that are supposed to rhyme.

Until next week, remember that if you want to keep cool, pop a glass of fresh lemonade in your hand and stay in the shade.

In this world there are some ….

people that don’t act quickly enough when decisions have to be made.
people that don’t know when their welcomes have been outstayed.
people that regularly pray but remain unheard.
soccer teams that get easily outplayed.
important foundations that never get laid.
dues that go unpaid.
things that are already too decayed.
people that will always be afraid.
relationships that will always remain frayed.
people that prefer not to colour hair that has greyed.
messages that get incorrectly relayed.
innocent people that get slayed.
opinions that outweigh losses that are made.
people that believe the privacy of others is fine to invade.
people that are still poor after they have been paid.
people that get tired without having played.
people that are way too early to ever be delayed.
people that like to rain on their best friend’s parade.
people that prefer not to be x-rayed.
people that are intent on making others dismayed.
people that regret never having strayed.
beds that get left unmade.
certain colours that remain as they are and others that fade.
students that make the cut having never made the grade.
people that are too frightened to think about being afraid.
people that believe in breaking rules that should be obeyed.
That’s it, I’m afraid.

A poem by Stephen Austwick.