Monday, 13 September 2010
A Marvellous Thing
I'm just back from a rather wonderful weekend in Derbyshire, which was mostly about an unusual and unusually joyous family get-together - but, this not being That Kind of Blog, I'm not going to go into all that... Two beautiful, non-family-related images linger in my pleasure centres. One is the spectacular view from the tall gothick window of room 7 of the Temple Hotel in (but safely above) the curious resort of Matlock Bath - surely one of the best hotel room views in England (and the hotel itself is delightful, a nicely frayed-at-the-edges Regency house with none of the character-destroying horrors that afflict most modern hotels). The other lingering image is from Sunday morning, when the warm autumn sun broke through early and the late butterflies were flying and basking. On the remaining flowers of a large buddleia bush I saw a marvellous thing - a dozen and more small tortoiseshells feeding happily (along with a red admiral and a peacock). Not so long ago this would have been a common sight, but lately those of us who live in the southeast have been starved of tortoiseshells as their numbers fell steeply. The cause has still not been established, but the likelihood is that a parasitic infection is to blame, rather then the default culprit 'global warming' (in my experience butterflies seem to rather like warmth). This year there were encouraging signs that the tortoiseshell was rallying in the south. Perhaps a dozen of them on a buddleia bush will once again become a common sight - but it will still be a marvellous heart-lifting thing at summer's end.