I love WhatsApp. Who would have thought that the humble sprout, beloved of many of us, loathed by the rest, could spark such a prolonged string of comments and emojis from family members! That, along with the starlit night skies and two birthday parties on Zoom, has provided entertainment and joy – and some welcome diversion from news broadcasts – in recent days.

Orion stared in at the front bedroom window last week while The Plough was high in the sky above the back of the house. Living on the edge of an urban area, I have to pick a non-light-polluted spot outside to study the stars properly. Head craned back, I try and count them. The more I look, the more I see. And more. And more. It’s weird that they’re all up there during the day, yet we don’t see them. Sun, moon and stars in their courses above. And they’re there on grey days too. Ever present . . .

. . . unlike sprouts which are seasonal. Oh, the joy now they’re back on the market stalls or ready to pick from the allotment! These little mini cabbages, perfectly formed, tasty when not cooked to a pulp, are an autumn and winter treat, every bit as good as summer’s strawberries and raspberries. Agree?

Our family is divided on the merits of the sprout but not on the merits of the stars which we all find truly awesome. Stars and sprouts forever, that’s what I say.

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