Saturday, 12 March 2011


I have been reading a wonderful book by Patrick Barkham, The Butterfly Isles.  He tries to find every British butterfly (59) in one year.  It is a lovely book and really readable, not at all 'heavy'.  It made me want to start hunting butterflies even though it is only March and this is just about when they start to appear.  Given that the beginning of the week was quite cold and frosty, I don't think I had much chance of just seeing one if I was not actively hunting one!  However, it did make me get off the bus one stop early.  That way I can walk past my lovely patch of wild violets, they are so beautiful.  I did feel a bit silly taking a picture of them, and made sure there were no people close by before snapping, but I was really pleased how the picture came out, with them all frosty.

As usual this got me thinking about my childhood.  My sister and I were born in London, but we were really lucky in that when we were about 1 and 2 our parents decided to move us to the countryside to a small market town in Wiltshire.  We had a wonderful early childhood, with lots of nature, always in the garden and fields, a long walk through a different part of the countryside on Easter Monday (we had no car, so everything was done by leg or bus).  We would catch minnows and sticklebacks in the brook, dam it up and make stepping stones. Sometimes we would go to the Westonbirt Arboretum, one of my most favourite places.  We would go on the bus and get off and then all of us hop over the big wall into the beautiful glades of trees and rhododendrons.  Both sets of grannys lived by the seaside at Weston-Super-Mare so every holiday would be spent there.  We used to walk to the top of Uphill where there were lots of grasshoppers and spend a long time catching them.  Dad also gave me a long time scare of spiders by catching them in matchboxes before releasing them, but the horrid thing was that he would hold them by our ear and we would hear them scrawling inside!!!  Here where I live now, in the Isle of Purbeck is a very active branch of the RSPB, which looks after all wildlife, not just birds.  There is a lovely man who is absolutely passionate about spiders, so one day I will go on a Spider walk with him and learn to love them a little bit more.

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