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Sometimes one gets back from vacation and one just doesn't update one's blog. One says, "let me get through my email inbox first" or "one can't think of what to say at this precise moment" or "stop using 'one' as a personal pronoun before one gets one's nose bridge shattered with a buffalo-nudges-peach-tree flying forehead smash."

That's my excuse. Believe it or don't. Mum never did. She went straight for the kitchen drawer which housed the Wooden Spoon, which she then applied vigorously and with malice aforethought to my aft quarters. Until it broke once. I love my Mum. I never told her until much later that the Wooden Spoon treatment was about as deadly as a damp noodle wielded by a paralytic tree. "If only we had spanked him more" is a lament that was oft heard round the house when I had done something moronic, but was too big to suffer corporal punishment. Too true.

Some tales I always enjoyed were those of Emil, the unrepentantly high-spirited lad who would inevitably, after a caper, be caught and sent to the woodshed, there to await punishment at the hands of his father. He would always carve a wooden figure while waiting, the woodshed eventually becoming filled with row on row of these small witnesses to the many futile attempts at correction. Good old Astrid Lindgren.

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