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As soon as the rain stopped, we hot-footed it with joy and whoops of excitement to a local beauty spot near Burley-in-Wharfedale.

Oh, OK, then.

As soon as the rain stopped, I dragged the boys kicking and screaming away from their Lego and forced them up a steep muddy path far, far away from the local playground and the telly.

It was deserted, apart from the occasional cow. The clouds continued to roll and menace. At the top of the hill, the boys began to flag. They were so tired they couldn’t even complain. So we stopped for a restorative chocolate digestive and discussed cow pats and the fact that, when dry, they can be used for fuel.

As I was beginning to wonder whether a cow-pat-briquette experiment might be in order, the clouds cracked open. Sunshine pierced through, as only northern sunshine on a stormy day can, as through concentrating all its efforts in a few inspiring shards.

‘Shadow insect!’ I shouted, duly inspired, leaping up and falling into a cow pat. ‘We need six legs.’ And I stuck my arms out to make one pair of legs. Grub immediately stood in front of me. Two pairs. Moth refused to budge.

‘Come on!’ we begged, ‘We need a third pair of legs.’

Recognising the power of his position, Moth steadfastly refused to join us. So Grub and I tried balancing on one leg, using the other to create the missing shadow insect legs. I had to take pics in hope, holding the camera out to the side, for I didn’t want to lose another precious insect leg by bringing it in front of my face.

And so – our work of art. We think it’s a grasshopper, with its last pair of legs tucked under its wings. That’s Moth, on the left, exercising control.

I then threatened to roll him in the cow pat, so he gave in. We present ‘Giant Shadow Insect of Unknown Species’.

If only there were a praying mantis this big: I’d cheerfully feed it Moth.

1 Comment

  1. Mandy says:

    Brilliant, Tamsin! Really refreshing and unusual – not just the writing, but the acticity itself – and kinda touching. I imagine Moth and Grub growing up steeped in the lore of the outdoors.

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