The Great Indoors

Friday, 13th August 2004
Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

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Continuing rain and cloud is all that it takes to persuade me to stay in and catch up with the decorating, bits of which have been waiting for a year for my attention.

The Book of the Green Knight

Student sketchbook

Here's a sketchbook from my student days, from the winter of 1972/73; its subject matter includes birds and plants drawn as part of my natural history course but also my room at college, the concerts and exhibitions I went to and the food I ate (I often chose appealing subjects like fish, fruit and croissants which I could draw first, then eat).


Insect Chorus

mosquitoBarbara mentions that there's a mosquito in the bathroom, they're attracted in at the open window by the light on sultry summer nights.

'It's the sort that you can hear buzzing towards you,' she says.

'I'll never hear that,' I say; I've lost the upper frequencies of my hearing. I put it down to a single punk rock concert I went to at the local college. I'm surprised that I do hear the mosquito as it makes short flights from one part of the ceiling to another. I'm pleased that my hearing extends to such quiet sounds. It reminds me of the buzz of children at play, heard in the distance.

'BzzzzzzzZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz. . . .'

Luckily this is a male mosquito (he uses those bottle-brush antennae to locate the female) and so there's no danger of us being bitten.

What Katy Did in the Brown Out

Nature journalist Clare Walker Leslie (who is getting out with her sketchbook a good deal more than me recently) writes to me from Cambridge, Massachusetts:

grasshopperWe have had very few butterflies in our meadows this summer. Not sure why.... Lots of grasshoppers, crickets, flies, ants, wasps of all forms, and thus, many meadow birds. Our August days are filled with the cacophony of insect love songs- night and day! Spent the day before 9/11, in fact, walking our city streets at night identifying the songs and owners of the songs in the bushes and gardens near our apartment. Amazing who sings what- do you have katydids?? During the electrical brown out, last summer, in NYC, people were amazed at all the “electrical sounds”. It was all the crickets, grasshoppers, katydids of the city sidewalk trees, bushes, murky green shadows!!!

cricketI guess I'd hear katydids if we had them in England but listening to our native grasshoppers is a childhood memory for me, thanks to my one night at that Little Joe Story concert (well, that's what I think permanently damaged my hearing). But I can easily hear crickets when we're abroad.

This cricket (left) surprised us by singing in our house a few years ago. It had stowed away in our suitcase in Rhodes and hitched a ride back here. Next Page

Related Link

Clare Walker Leslie

Richard Bell,

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