It was a beautiful summer’s day in London yesterday, and we decided on an impromptu picnic in the park. My elder daughter Kat met up with us at our special spot along the Serpentine, where she used to play as a child.

It was packed with people enjoying the summer sun, so we found somewhere quiet instead, some distance away from the River.

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And so, we picnicked here, on old tartan horse blankets.

Kat told her younger sister the story of the squirrels of Hyde Park and orange peels: when the park gates are locked for the night, the squirrels come down from the trees and scour the park for orange peels. They then organise themselves into teams for a frisbee-throwing competition 🙂


She then caught sight of a lone magpie, and she saluted grandly.

There’s a popular children’s rhyme that goes like this:

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.
Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten for a bird,
You must not miss.

“There’s only one magpie! It’s for sorrow! Shouldn’t you avoid looking at it?” Her younger sister asked.

And Kat answered in a grave voice, “Magpies bond with one partner only in its entire lifetime. So when you see one magpie, it means that that particular magpie has lost its mate. That’s why I am saluting it, for carrying on.”

I was incredibly moved by the little story she pulled out from the mysterious corner of her heart – and am filled with the conviction that we must fill our children’s heart with magic, so that they spread magic to others ❤