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Billy Wright, six-year-old hero of the novel WHAT I DID, blogs here:

Leaves fall off and rot into the mud but don’t worry new ones come back again next year out of buds.  It’s called the cycle of life and we’re all part of it.

–Cue sappy Elton John tune, Son.

Dad was talking about The Lion King when he said that. I got it.  He says that film and most of the other ones Walt Disney makes are a load of sentimental rubbish, but often when I watch one he sits next to me with a cup of tea just for a bit … and ends up staying until the end.

Walt: wilt. It’s what the leaves do.

At school we planted worms in the compost heap behind Mr Sparks’ classroom to help keep the cycle of life turning.  –They litter really turn the earth, Mr Sparks told us, and I got that, too: he meant they chew up the mud, not make the world spin on its axes.

Mr Sparks wears coloured laces in his shoes and rides a bike with fantastic suspension, but sadly he’s a bit bald because of his jeans.

We’ve all got jeans.  They’re tiny, but bigger than moluscules, I think.  Anyway, they carry the information which tells us to be handsome or ugly or good at maths.

I’m best at literacy, which means reading and writing, and I’m good at judo, too.  It’s not about aggression but respect.

The first way of showing respect is by bowing when you start, and another way is by kneeling down and not sitting with crossed legs, which is funny because at school it’s exactly the other way around.

–Different horses, different courses, Dad said, when I told him about that.

I didn’t know what he meant, but I do know that some leaves turn red before they fall off, and others go yellow. It’s probably to do with jeans, if trees have them, and it doesn’t matter anyway because the point is the leaves fall off.

They have to, to keep everything going, and in that way leaves are like pedals.  Pedals on the cycle of life.

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