Wednesday, July 7, 1982


I had to go into school to sort out a form for Watermouth and take my History books back but I couldn't find who I needed to and so I’ll have to go in again tomorrow. The back of my neck is sore from yesterday’s sun.

In the afternoon Mrs. Collins from across the street handed over a hedgehog she'd discovered in her garden as she cut the grass. We put it in a wooden box on the lawn and for a while it ate bread and milk, moving jerkily to and from, swaying unsteadily with little circular movements.

I lazed about the rest of the afternoon reading and wallowing in morbid reflections about yesterday. At Tesco I worked as though in a trance, my hands moving but my mind totally free of that supermarket, lost on the moors and in the wind.

When I got back, Dad and I set off to free our hedgehog. It slept peacefully through all the bumps, slammed doors and jostling and was still asleep as we gently placed it at the foot of an oak tree in the green still gloom of the woodland at the top of Glenbank.

We have quite a menagerie at home now: in the kitchen are tanks and containers populated by moth caterpillars found on a moorland walk and a bullfrog tadpole; Andrew’s bedroom has young Marsh frogs and their undeveloped kin; in my room are four newts that grow more aggressive every day, and also five minnows.

Mum is virtually voiceless today. She can only croak to us in whispers, but a long-suffering, grimly humourous look tells me what she thinks about a house full of these creatures.

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