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Before I get going with this month's offering himself has asked if he can put a few words in, so here he goes: "first of all, thanks to all of you who read and comment on Madai's blog. Madai has been dictating this to me for over 3 years and it's good to see a healthy number of page views each month. As some of you may have more time on your hands presently it would be nice to try to expand the readership, so if every reader just copied the web address to one of their friends or colleagues whom they think might enjoy it, and if those new readers did the same and so on, then who knows how far Madai's Labrador's musings might reach? So go on, once you've read this month's blog just forward the link and a recommendation to some of your contacts."

Madai here now, himself's back into secretarial mode: if you are reading this blog following a friend's recommendation then hello and welcome. You can discover more about me through my home page after you've read this month's offering.

Well I think I should start this month's blog with the GOOD THINGS, which have tended to get rather lost over the last few weeks. Last month I ended with comments about themselves' drains, the hideous weather and, prophetically, the hope that things could only get better. Well I was only talking about the weather and yes it did get better — a lot. We're now in British Summer Time or BST if we are to be acronymically correct: I only dictated that to see if himself could spell it, and yes it is a proper word. Himself just wandered off to see what acronyms there were for me (DOG, not Madai) and returned to tell me with great delight that "Delusions Of Grandeur" was top of the list. OK, I'll just keep dictating to you for longer this month to keep him at the keyboard.

So what else has got better? Well all sorts of wild things are coming into flower now and I've put some pictures up here for you to enjoy. Did you know that it you click them the pictures get bigger! The field hedges are full of Blackthorn blossom at the moment — the flower looks just the same as Hawthorn, but Blackthorn blossom appears before the leaves whereas for Hawthorn its the other way round. Wood anemones are flowering freely in dappled shade — they are all over the slope by the footpath through the woods below the canal known locally as Bluebell Walk, a good place for chasing rabbits — and also along Eel Brook where it is crossed by the footpath to the west of the village. Interesting fact alarm: another name for the wood anemone is Fox Smell, as I told himself as he advanced on me with the rubber gloves and hosepipe after we got back from this morning's walk. Probably just as well he didn't buy the tale that I'd just been rolling in wood anemones, the "Fox smell" was a bit rank even by my standards. Next up in my list are Daffodils — all over the place, in gardens, by the roadside and as you can see here along the canal. Who planted them there and why? — that's what herself said as I posed for the picture.

And then there's the sky: for the last week its been so clear and blue, and empty. My predecessor but two, who looked after themselves many years ago, used to bark at and chase off the aeroplanes that flew over our garden. They went, job done. Ergo barking at planes scares them away. Well there are none for me to bark at at the moment for reasons that I don't understand. Perhaps they've flown off to spend the summer somewhere else like the Fieldfares and Redwings that have now left?

Which brings us to the title. Hands up those who have guessed the link? Well done — its a bit like (this is himself writing now) remembering where you were when President Kennedy was assassinated or in this case where you were on September 11th 2001 when the World Trade Centre was attacked (himself says he was in a pub in Dun Laoghaire but I'm not sure you needed to know that) following which Bruce Springsteen released the "Rising" album containing the emotional track "Empty Sky."

On which note I've run out of dictating puff and himself has gone off on a Springsteen listening fest — each to their own I suppose! Let's hope that next month we have some better news? And please get your friends to read this blog!

Madai, your rovering reporter
PS: OK, two tests for you this month! First up what is the name of the daffodil/canal spot? and second, where is this bridge at the bottom of the page? Answers on a virtual post card to madaithelabrador@gmail.com. First successful answer gets a virtual dog treat.

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