I have attached a photo of a five kilogram pumpkin which has a distinctive scar on its side. It is fanciful to imagine that could have been caused by a passing witch. A more likely explanation is that a badger has scarred the pumpkin in its growing phase. I noticed several pumpkins in the four acre field which had been turned. On turning one myself I found several worms between the pumpkin and the ground and presumably this is what the badger was after.

In the hedgerow of the same the field is a hornets’ nest. This has been made in a hollow oak tree about two metres from the ground. Part of the nest is visible on the outside of the tree. A group of workers had been picking in the field including a Latvian student. He had shown an interest in the nest and had been warned to leave it alone. When it came to the end of the working day he was the last to leave the field. Unfortunately he could not resist lobbing a lump of mud at the nest. This was a direct hit which had a dramatic effect. Although I did not witness this myself, I am told around one hundred hornets left the nest and pursued the lad. They flew around his head and two hornets landed on his back. He very soon had twelve stings on his back and was shouting in pain and trying to remove his shirt. By this time everyone was running towards the minibus which was parked one hundred meters away. The hornets continued to chase the lad up to the bus where everyone else was sheltering to keep out of the way. Nobody else was stung. The stings on the student swelled into boil size lumps and must have been quite painful. He assured us that he would be ok and we told him again not to mess with hornets nests. We kept an eye on him as apparently allergic reactions can occur up to three days after a sting. He should have known better as hornets do occur in Latvia and his father keeps fifteen beehives. He recovered quickly and was back at work the next day. I don't think he had much sympathy from his colleagues.

Picture © Mike Southall