About this Blog

Four Wise Monkeys is designed to unite my desire to develop as a writer with my urge to blog. It is based around the proverbial Three Wise Monkeys, with the focus being on the human senses rather than moral principles. Each post will relate to a sense represented by a monkey: "See no evil, Hear no evil, Taste no evil, Smell no evil." My hope is that blogging in this way will encourage me to think of blogging as a kind of writing exercise rather than something to distract me from my writing.

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Four Wise Monkeys pebbles by Aimee Daniells.


Red Wine at Night

Red wine is generally my drink of choice, and there are few things I welcome more after a long and tiring day. The sight of that first glass shining garnet reflections onto the coffee table is something I enjoy indulging in before I take the first mouthful. The richness of its colour, bursting with the promise of flavour and relaxation, warms me like an open fire. It signifies that I’m here; that I’m not going anywhere; that it’s time to stop. It’s a simple monkey, and not one that lasts long before it is overtaken by smell and taste, but it’s one I always enjoy.

Monkey by Clive Wesley Dennis 



I can’t think of a type of wood that I don’t enjoy the smell of, but in this case, I’m thinking specifically of oak. I was in the houses of parliament with a group of children the other day, surrounded by dark oak panelling as we listened to our tour-guide. I haven’t the faintest idea what he was saying at that moment; I was too caught up with breathing in the deep, rich smells of wood and polish. The smell of oak is dense and solid, a grounding scent that reaches through you, almost oppressive in its power.

Oak panelling – and specifically its smell – reminds me very much of the kind of pub my granddad used to favour: cosy places full of oak, with open fires and real ales. When I was little, we’d go for a lot of pub meals: ploughman’s lunches or giant Yorkshire puddings filled with roast beef. Somehow, the smell of roast beef has woven its way into the smell of varnished oak in my mind, and smelling the latter evokes a strong memory of the former. I may be standing in the House of Lords, but really I’m far away, tucked around an oak table in a country pub in some distant corner of my memory. 

Monkey by Kieran Hazell (www.ownbeat.co.uk)


New Books

There’s an excitement in the acquisition of any book I really want to read, but for some reason, there’s none so great as that brought by a brand new book. It’s a pleasure I rarely indulge in, but sometimes, when I simply can’t wait for a title to turn up in a charity shop or second hand on Amazon, I’ll order one, or – rarer still – physically buy one from a bookshop. (The latter remains my favourite but it’s a luxury I can’t really afford). There’s such anticipation held in those perfect, unmarked pages for a story told, it seems, just for me. Crisp and uncurled, the pages wait to be brought to life, enticing me with promises of characters and plots. The cover shines and the spine is stiff and lifeless until reader and writer meet in the pages and breathe life into the story. The sense of possibility mingles with the pleasure of newness, of freshness, and it’s worth lingering a while before I start to read, savouring the joy of an anticipated book.

Monkey by Kieran Hazell (www.ownbeat.co.uk)



There’s a jay who frequents our garden. The neighbours feed him peanuts, which he eats on the fence, scattering bits of shell into the flowerbeds. I love watching him. It’s partly, I think, because there’s only one of him, so I know I’m always seeing the same bird, which gives him more of a personality than any of the other visitors our garden sees. And it’s also partly because he’s so pretty: he’s an interesting combination of tropical-looking and crow-like. His beak is thick and chunky (he looks like he could probably do a fair bit of damage with it), and he has a flash of blue on his wings, which stretch out like fingers when he flies. We notice his absence when we haven’t seen him for a long time; it’s always a small relief when he comes back to sit on the fence and eat peanuts.

Monkey by Clive Wesley Dennis 



I love the din of spring. It’s that time of year when animals behave peculiarly, caught in the rituals of finding a mate and protecting their young. At the nearby ponds, the female mallards are followed around constantly by two or three males; rats dart in and out of the bushes to gather titbits; birds stand watch over nests. And in the air is noise: mating calls and warning signals, loud and frequent as eggs are protected and young are born. Birds yell angrily from trees when you pass; the other day, Dave and I got hissed at by a squirrel, who was standing guard in the hedgerow. It makes me aware of how much else there is in the world besides us, and I enjoy that. The calls are different from the ones we hear most of the time, the ones we filter out and stop noticing; they make me remember how much is going on around us that we don’t pay attention to. These are sounds I associate with the approach of summer, and that in itself is a treasure. It’s as though the orchestra’s warming up, and I listen with anticipation of what is to come next.

Monkey by Clive Wesley Dennis