It's Mothering Sunday, which, when I was a child would signify a mad dash to Warwickshire to pay homage to my Grannie, who was rather particular about these things. I think my own mother always felt a slight sense of injustice about the fact that so much was expected of her on this particular day, so always told us not to make a big deal about it ourselves. She has even been known to say that she should be thanking us rather than vice versa. So kind. I have to say, I'm not a big fan of any date which allows someone to assuage their guilt for being a rubbish person for the rest of the year. In my view, every day should be Mother's Day!
Nevertheless, today we DID go to Thaxted to pay homage to the parents and it was an absolutely lovely day. Brother Edward and Sascha were there and we went down to Parishes in the village for a meal.
Edward has started a new job and is looking extremely well: unstressed, in shape and relaxed.
We called in on Stuart for a quick cuppa and a game of Jenga on the way home. He's one of my parents' neighbours and a member of our North Essex quiz team. He came to see our show yesterday with his wife, Sally, which made us incredibly happy.
We sat in front of an open fire back at Till Towers and Nathan fell asleep curled up on the sofa. It was the perfect end to a week of roller-coaster mayhem.
On our way home we smelt the smoke again at the crossroads outside Thaxted where they used to hang people. Keen readers of this blog will remember that Thaxtedonians have reported seeing ghostly wisps of smoke hovering over the road in that particular spot. Nathan and I saw it last year, and I always swore we'd park up and explore if we ever saw it again.
...So we parked up at the side of the road and crept along the dark country roads. It was really rather eerie. We could see a rather large spume of white smoke - almost like a bonfire - pouring into the dark night air from behind a wall. As we watched - literally as we watched - the smoke died and disappeared. Almost as though someone had thrown a bucket of water on it... Or turned off the smoke machine. Very odd.
We stumbled further down the road in the opposite direction and were astonished to find a second small fire, cracking gently in the wood by the side of the road, a long way away from where we'd seen the first one. But who would light a fire right there, by the side of the road, at 10pm on a Sunday night? There was no one sitting by the fire. And the fire itself wasn't contained by a pit or a brazier. It was all very strange.
So the mystery of the smoke is part-solved... But who's lighting the fires? And why? And why are they vanishing like that?