Where has the light gone?

Where has the light gone? It seems as if I am sitting out in the evening sunshine when suddenly it is dark. I do not feel as if I am ready for Autumn but just gone eight at night the sun sets on my outdoor cup of tea.

It seems as if the sun is setting on our cosy energy too and I dare not think of what might happen. To take my mind off this worry I had some logs delivered to keep us warm in the winter.

“You are quick off the mark.” Said the lorry driver. He came in a huge truck, but he effortlessly backed into our drive and stood with a machine over his shoulder that controlled the log bag, just like using the remote for the TV. It was a comfort to hear him talking about his life and what he was doing (going to hear music and seeing his friends). It was almost as if things were back to normal

Throughout all our upheavals these last few years the wildlife has been carrying on normally unaware of our troubles. There are great numbers of white butterflies – they are always here trying to lay eggs on our brassicas. I have been sitting in the garden watching them dancing above the flowers. They do not stay long and are soon off foraging on a better flower. The sun catches their white wings and makes them look so innocent which they are not when you consider the holes in our cabbage leaves.

If there are any red admiral butterflies about, I know where to find them. They will be feasting on the windfall Victoria plums. There have been so many big juicy plums this year that some have escaped my pies and crumbles and dropped to the ground. I do not mind because sitting under the tree in the sunshine I am rewarded by the flicking red and black wings of the red admiral as it sucks the autumn juice. But there are not many flying here this year.

The large blue butterfly is doing much better. It became extinct over 40 years ago, but conservationists have re-introduced the caterpillars from Sweden and this year has seen the highest number yet. They are not in Shropshire, but I am interested because they have an unusual life cycle. They depend on ants. Somehow, the caterpillars masquerade as ant grubs (how do they do that?). The ants take these caterpillars, which they think are their own grubs, down into their cosy nests and protect them. No need to worry about keeping warm, they are safely underground this winter. How lucky they are.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star) 


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