It would be disingenuous to claim that Little Boots’ allotment participation is due solely to a passion for veg, even though the “black beans”* are a current fave. No, the presence of a playground thirty yards from the site gate, is undoubtedly a much bigger factor.

 A visit to the allotment is coupled with a runaround on the swings and slides, which is for each of us a yin and yang deal – we would both rather be doing one, but don’t mind the other.

For me, whilst I relish the chance to flop on the bench and recuperate, it is a bit hard to sit and watch the munchkin belting around the place if I haven’t finished what I need to do on the plot.

But today I seriously got involved pushing swings and hareing about and I’m glad I did, or I might have missed this:

The playground is surrounded mostly by sycamores, ash, hazel and birch. There’s also a big old oak and a few field maples, but nothing massively exciting or unexpected. Or so I thought.

I was racing around the swings when suddenly I stopped dead in my tracks having spied the hornbeam nut.

“What is it?” said Little Boots.

“Nothing,” I replied, because it was little persons’ time, not grown up’s botanical blathering time.

Despite what I have read, hornbeam is not a common tree in the wild round here and I cast my eye around as I pushed the swing to increasing squeals of “Higher! Higher!”. Perhaps the seed had been carried in on someone’s muddy shoes? And then I spotted it, not very big, and tucked away in a dampish spot under a big ash.

“Whoo!” squealed Little Boots.

“Whoo!” I thought.

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