SMOKEY JOE: Yesterday, we were devastated to find our beloved Shetland pony Smokey Joe had died in the night. He was quite old for a horse and I had reared him since he was a baby colt. It was unexpected, as he was his usual perky self the previous day. I know that all those lovely people who used to visit him and bring him apples and carrots will also be very sad. We have not yet recovered from the shock. Animals bring us great joy but also great sadness when this inevitably happens.

WEATHER: It looks as if autumn has now pushed summer away and it is now becoming chillier. We long for the lovely warm days of summer and once here, they seem so fleeting compared with the rest of the year. We should, however, deem ourselves lucky that we do not live in the Caribbean or on the USA south east coast. My husband John’s mother grew up in Florida and apparently they took hurricanes in their stride, boarding up windows every year and breathing a sigh of relief when it was over and hopefully they had not incurred too much damage.

CLOUDS: Have you ever noticed how blessed we are with magnificent clouds in our area. We are able to see them for, unlike cities, we are not beset by tall buildings. I am grateful that we live near the coast and can see dramatic skies that both Constable and Turner would have been inspired to paint. I must get out the paints as soon as possible, but doubt the result will be as good as the aspiration.

SMILES FOR THE DAY: 1: Why is one’s nose not 12 inches long? If it were, it would be a foot. 2: What did the stamp say to the letter? Stick with me and you’ll go far.

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