Happy Christmas 2019


Dear Friends,

If you are hoping for some profound philosophical truths or commentary on the state of the world in this year’s Christmas letter, then I fear that you will be disappointed.

By the time you read this letter you will know whether the UK left the EU  on March 31, or on April 12 or on October 31 and you have heard me rant and rave for long enough to know if we think that the UK, Europe and the world in general would be a better place if the UK continued to work in partnership with other European countries for the betterment of all. So I shall write instead of butterflies and raspberries.

We have butterflies in our garden. Some of you may also have butterflies in gardens near you. This year, for some reason I tried to identify one or two and almost the first one I saw was a Painted Lady. I reported my sighting, and stumbled on a story. Apparently the Painted Lady is usually very rare in the UK, but about one year in ten there is a sudden increase in numbers of a parasitic wasp that makes their normal African homeland a dangerous place to stay. The butterflies respond by migrating north. A few may make it all the way to the UK but many of them stop off in in Spain and it is their offspring who complete the journey. It turned out that this year was a wonderful year for Painted Ladies. Having aroused a new interest in butterflies I identified a few others, and started trying to get photographs of them.

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Butterflies and Raspberries