The dog took me for a walk in the arboretum again yesterday morning. It was lovely weather; a blue sky, cool and crisp air. We walked through a series of pine plantations and then I realised that we were in the midst of a plantation of monkey puzzle trees. My picture, taken with my GSM, doesn’t really do the scene justice. Anyway, a sort of cod revelation came to me. In my childhood the monkey puzzle tree was an occasional ‘novelty’ ornamental tree, to be found rarely in suburban gardens and always pointed out by parents because of its rarity and strangeness. But of course, where monkey puzzle trees come from they are not at all strange. On the contrary, they are normal and there are forests of them in Chile and Argentina. There is a metaphor in there somewhere.