Caterpillar circuit

On a long march

On a long march

I found this caterpillar in the cauliflower – hardly camouflaged at all.

After the meal it climbed onto the oven dish.

There it trudged round and round the rim, possibly all night except I wasn’t watching.

It must have had some sort of goal in mind and believed it would get there.

Gazing into the flames

Flames in the firebox of the stove

Flames in the firebox of the stove

Flames dancing in the hearth.

Drawing the eye, dominating the room.

Softening conversation, making it more reflective.

Bringing fellow-feeling down the ages, right back to cave-dwellers.



Bug or beetle?

A bug by any other name

A bug by any other name

This is called a fire bug (or firebug). It’s also called a fire beetle.

So what’s the difference and which is it?

The beetle and the true bug (as opposed to ‘bug’ which is a sloppy name for anything small with a lot of legs) are both types of insect.

They can be distinguished by their mouthparts and their wing cases.

The creature in the photo is actually a true bug and not a beetle at all.

But given the number of wildly unrelated meanings for ‘bug’, I’m happier calling it a beetle.


Brick or stone?

A stone wall

A stone wall

Which is more frustrating?

To be stonewalled, or to be up against a brick wall?

Aesthetically speaking, I generally prefer a stone wall.

Lifting my eyes to the hills

View to the foothills of the Apennines

View to the foothills of the Apennines

The blue in the distance is our view of the foothills of the Apennines.

Mountains rather than hills, though no-one seems to be quite sure when one becomes the other.

In Wales the criterion is land use and appearance rather than strict height, which seems eminently sensible to me.

By that token these are mountains.

The last drop

Raindrop on the sepal of a rose

Raindrop on the sepal of a rose

“Good down to the last drop.”

What’s wrong with the last drop?

Probably nothing, unless it’s got some grounds in it.

But the language is wrong, not making it clear whether the last drop is included.

In defence of fennel

Fennel flowers hung with raindrops

Fennel flowers hung with raindrops

You can have too much of a good thing, can’t you?

Let wild fennel seed and you’ve got a fennel garden. Congratulations.

But when a plant smells wonderful, feeds the caterpillars of swallowtail butterflies, and holds tiny raindrops all among its flowers …?


Eye candy

Late peaches

Late peaches

Orange and blue – complementary colours.

Kingfisher breast and wing.

Nuggets of gold in a blue glass goblet.

Bounty floating on the ocean.

Late peaches make perfect eye candy in this bowl.


Arrangement for a cold night

Arrangement for a cold night

This is efficient sharing of warmth.

Body fits with body, scarcely touching, not restricting.

Even a lover’s arms would have trouble being quite so accommodating.

Snail mail

Snail in a broken shell, ripe for predation

Snail in a broken shell, ripe for predation

Send your letter by email and it arrives practically instantaneously.

Send it by ‘snail mail’ and it’s going to take a day or more at least, as it wends its way through the postal system.

Clever phrase. Neat little rhyme with a nice derogatory tone.

One observation though: it belongs to the English language.

I say this because the Italian for the @ sign, integral to email addresses, is ‘chiocciola’ which means snail.

Because it looks like a snail.