naming memories

On a visit to south Wales this week, when I stepped outside the back door, I found the iridescent creature pictured above sunning itself on the rosemary bush. Without doubt, it was one of the most eye-catching beetles I’ve ever seen.

I don’t claim to recognise all the insect life of the UK, but I was surprised just how unfamiliar this one seemed: I was pretty sure that even if my Observer’s Book of Common Insects and Spiders were not stuffed in a box at the back of a storage locker somewhere in rural Spain, it would not help me to identify it.
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must be nuts

I mentioned yesterday that I was up early enough on Friday to take a photo of the overnight snow before the sun came up and melted it. In fact, that was the third day of the week that I had to be on the very first bus of the morning.

Then, yesterday, which was Saturday and might therefore be supposed to be a little more relaxed, I was at the station soon after 8am and heading off to yet another early meeting. So much for the freedom of running my own business.
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autumn berries

I said yesterday that there still seemed to be a fair number of flowers around considering it’s now officially autumn. So today I went out to see if I could find something more seasonal to feature on the blog.

Hips and haws, blackberries, elderberries, snowberries, cotoneaster, yew and rowan… I went round gathering fruit from other people’s gardens and along the canal path – or at least gathering photos.
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poetry and prose

My poem El inquilino (the lodger) was a runner up in the MsLexia poetry competition this year and has just been published in the magazine. That should have made it easy to find something to write for the blog today, but although copies have already been delivered to subscribers, the terms of the publishing agreement mean that the poem can’t appear here – or anywhere else – until after the official publishing date of September 1st.

That said, the poem was inspired by the wildlife at the house en el pueblo when I lived in Spain, so here is a rather different account of “the lodger”, adapted from notes for the fictionalised memoir I eventually hope to write, which will be in the house-as-life-journey genre.
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hic sunt dracones

scarlet snapdragonI have a soft spot for dragons. Especially red ones. So naturally I stopped to photograph these flowers when I saw them in the park yesterday.

Then I found something even more dragon-like:
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fancy pants

Looking through recent photos, it occurs to me that when I take pictures of bees they almost invariably end up as rear views.

white-bottomed bumble  bee on teasel
This doesn’t seem to make much sense: surely it’s unwise to creep up on a creature whose defence mechanism is probably automatic and very much located in its rear end.
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friends & strangers

green praying mantis
This photo of one of the stranger bugs I have had the pleasure of meeting up close is dedicated to the friends – and strangers – who read this blog and occasionally leave comments or click the ‘like’ button.