I was privileged to enjoy a simple, but very beautiful experience at the weekend, which set the Hall mind on one of its little treks into the musinglands.

(Don't worry, it's nothing too shocking, reading on is safe - or as safe as it ever is with me.)

It was about midnight, the turning point between Saturday and Sunday, and I was strolling home along with river.  There was a big splash and I looked over, but could see only ripples in the water.  I thought it was a fish so kept on walking, but then looked back - and there was an otter, happily swimming away on the surface.

I stopped to watch, and it was apparent the creature in question was enjoying itself (maybe otters have Saturday nights out, too?)  It swam back and forth for a while, hopped out of the river, shook itself off, stretched, and then plunged back in.

(No, it wasn't the beer, I'd only had a few, it really happened.)

How about that? An otter, right in the heart of a city.  What a great boast for Exeter.

Anyway, what it got me thinking was this - you've probably heard me say before that writing is a great way to tap into the subconscious.  You find yourself returning repeatedly to subjects which you weren't particularly aware were important to you, but clearly are. 

Justice is one of my key themes in the tvdetective books.  But so too is nature.  Dan is often out in the fabulous Devon countryside with Rutherford, thinking through a case but also delighting in the fantastic spectacle of the scenery. 

Nature is a fine justification of the old saying that the best things in life are free.  And that's even more so at this changing time of year, when Spring is sprinkling her magic and resurrecting so much of the natural world.  It feels like a time of renewal and rebirth, and is my favourite season of the year for that.

So then, finally for this blog, a song to go with the thoughts of nature - and how about Woodstock? (Joni Mitchell) I love the lines about bombers turning into butterflies, and all of us being stardust.  Wish I could write like that...