Harlequin Ladybird


Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Monday, 29th October, 2007

harlequin ladybirdWE'D HEARD ABOUT harlequin ladybirds reaching York on the local news on Friday and the next morning Barbara called me when she spotted one walking across our patio. We're not 100% sure on its identity, as we've never seen one before, but we felt that its blocky pattern was unlike our regular ladybirds, although it wasn't dramatically bigger. It's been described as 'the most invasive ladybird on Earth' and, after spreading rapidly across North America, it is now making progress across the UK. It reached Yorkshire last year.

Link: Harlequin Ladybird Survey

waspspiderWasps are looking for a place to spend the winter - we let a large wasp out of the back bedroom this weekend. This morning a wasp flew into a web in the corner of the lounge window - outside I mean, not in the room - and the spider came out of its lair in the corner to investigate. It stopped six inches away from the struggling wasp to assess the situation probably by the vibrations on the silk strands of the web but perhaps it could also see the yellow and black warning stripes. Like the red and black of the ladybird, this is a warning to predators.

The spider scuttled back to its lair and the wasp soon escaped.

rabbitThe rabbit in our garden isn't doing well. Despite suffering from myxomatosis, it wanders around eating whatever takes its fancy as it always has but it seems to be losing weight and those swollen eyes aren't showing any sign of clearing up.

notch bindingA Book and its Cover

My old copy of Village Walks in West Yorkshire got some rough treatment when, a few years ago, Barbara and I re-checked all 20 walks for the new edition. The rain-soaked pages have curled up at the edges but the binding has held them firmly in place. This kind of binding, shown in close-up on a newer copy of the book (right) is known as notch binding. The notching of the sections of the book allows glue to penetrate when the cover is attached.

Perfect Binding

perfect bindingNotch binding is inherently stronger than perfect binding, which is a process where pages are trimmed along the spine before they're glued into the cover. I’ve just taken a perfect bound book off the shelf and attempted to open it flat (left). It snapped along the spine. Most perfect binding is tougher than this example, but I'm still not keen on it.


My Sushi Sketchbooks and local interest guides have all been stapled, or saddle stitched as its called in the trade. This is fine up to about 48 pages, especially if you're using thinner paper, but my next booklet will be 64 pages and, as you can see from the 72 page booklet (above), when you get to that sort of thickness, the pages start to splay out from the staples.

I will try notch bound for my next booklet, the one about drawing from nature.

Link: 9/3/2011, The booklet, Drawing on Reserves worked well with its notch binding, I'd certainly use it again, but if you're interested in perfect binding, I've heard from a Leeds firm Newbind who specialise in 'short to medium run, high strength/quality perfect binding,our books are virtually indestructable under normal use'. They tell me that they use special equipment to test the books and often shows double the required strength of British standard; so that would definitely stand up to the worst that a walks booklet would have to go through - even in rain-lashed West Yorkshire!