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Four-spotted Chaser

Our garden is full of dragonflies and damselflies.

Most of the UK was basking in warm sunshine last week; Suffolk was one of the areas which wasn’t.  We spent most of the time under a thick pall of cloud.  There was a strong northerly breeze and some rain, though not much; certainly not enough.  The butterflies and dragonflies only flew when a watery sun appeared through a crack in the cloud, which wasn’t often.  The highest temperature I recorded was 16 degrees centigrade.  The weather started to improve towards the end of the week with the wind changing direction from northerly to a warmer south-westerly.  The clouds then began to disperse.  The weekend was really quite fine and Monday morning was too.  Unfortunately, we had a couple of heavy showers of rain in the afternoon and more of the same overnight.  Today started with thick mist and then it wasn’t too bad until this afternoon when we have had torrential rain and thunder storms.  At least today we have had a good amount of rain which has freshened things up nicely.


Lavender covered in butterflies (mainly Small Tortoiseshells)

Monday 16th was cool and showery and I had to visit the dentist because of a painful tooth.  I had made the appointment a week before when my tooth had been aching for some days.  It continued to hurt until a couple of days before the appointment and then suddenly felt better.  I thought I’d better keep the appointment just in case there was really a problem.  My dentist did her best to find something wrong with my tooth – she x-rayed it and bruised my gum with the x-ray plate.  She poked and prodded it very hard a number of times with that sharp spiky thing dentists use.  She gripped it very hard between finger and thumb and tried to wriggle it and pull it out.  She hit it hard a few times with a blunt metal object but fortunately for me there didn’t appear to be anything wrong.  I left the surgery feeling as though someone had punched me in the face.

Tuesday 17th was a much better day – some sunshine and a strong breeze which dried my washing.

Wednesday 18th was another busy shopping day – firstly with Mum who hadn’t been feeling too well and then some shopping for us. I also collected a quantity of medication from the doctors’ surgery.  Wednesday was also our 20th wedding anniversary and R was due home from working in Gloucestershire that evening.  Quite often he is away from home on our anniversary but this year was nicely different.  He brought me home a bouquet of flowers which was very kind and thoughtful of him.


In recent years we haven’t bought each other gifts but have gone somewhere nice together – a stately home, a beautiful garden – or we have bought something we both wanted – a garden bench, a favourite film to watch together.  This year R suggested we go out for a meal to the place we went to on our first date.  Of course I agreed.  We decided not to go out on the anniversary itself as R would have spent some hours driving and would be tired (as he was).  We booked a table for Friday evening and invited E to come with us.  She is the daughter of our marriage and should therefore be with us to celebrate.  She agreed to come too.

Thursday 19th, Corpus Christi, and though there was a service at church at 9.00a.m. I wasn’t able to go as E had an interview that morning at City College Norwich.  Surprisingly, E was fairly calm and even managed to eat some breakfast before we set off.  I parked in the city centre again and we walked to the college from there as before.  By the time we got to the college E was starting to feel very apprehensive and when I left her outside the interview room she was very frightened and extremely pale.

She re-appeared an hour and a half later having had an interview and done a short maths and English test.  I was so proud of her and pleased that she had been able to go through with the interview and test.

E has had many problems to deal with in her seventeen years.  She has scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and has had problems with her feet.  Both of these problems are now well under control but getting help initially was very difficult.  E had to contend with a lot of bullying at school too.  Always of a nervous disposition and insecure she developed chronic anxiety which brought on panic attacks.  She was helped extremely well in her Middle School but when she went up to High School the problem got so bad that eventually she was unable to attend school and wasn’t able to take her GCSE exams last summer.  Eventually we found a really good therapist who taught her how to control her anxiety.  She still has a long way to go but she has started to make a life for herself.  The City College has a course for young people who have had interrupted education and they know exactly how to treat these young people with kindness and understanding.  Their dignity is preserved and they are not made to feel guilty or odd.  You can understand now why I was so proud of my dear daughter.

R and I spent an hour or so cleaning the church again that evening.  There was to be a large wedding there on Saturday and the florist was coming to decorate the church on Friday so we had to do the cleaning first.  We decided to buy take-away fish and chips for our evening meal to save having to cook.  A real treat!

Friday 20th was a brighter day and got gradually warmer until the afternoon was quite summery.  I had a blood test in the morning then did yet more shopping.  The afternoon was spent doing housework – very tedious.  Our anniversary meal was very pleasant.  The inn looks very different from how it was when R and I went there in January 1993.  A large dining area with plenty of glass in the roof and large floor to ceiling glass windows has been added on at the back.

Saturday 21st.  A lovely summers day at last.  We were so pleased for the couple getting married today.  I went to collect some supplies from the chemist and R did some gardening – mainly hedge-cutting – and then went off on his bike to perform his Church Warden duties at the wedding.   The bride had arrived in an open carriage drawn by two Suffolk Punch horses.


The church had been beautifully decorated with flowers.




Sunday 22nd was another fine day and R and I went to church at St. James’ church.  I cooked our main meal as soon as we got home instead of in the evening as we usually do.  This was because I was going with my mother to a concert at Snape Maltings in Aldeburgh.  The Aldeburgh Festival is taking place at the moment and this year is its 67th since it was started by the composer Benjamin Britten and his partner Peter Pears.


Snape Maltings. Photo courtesy of The Daily Telegraph

Tickets for concerts at Snape are not that expensive but it is almost impossible to get them.  If one has enough money to be able to afford to become a Friend of Snape,  and the cheapest annual payment to become a Friend is £300, one can buy tickets earlier by weeks than the hoi-polloi like me.  All the best tickets are snapped up very quickly and us poor commoners are left with the crumbs.  I have decided to pay £15 a year so that I am e-mailed the programme of concerts.  This means I get to see the list of concerts a day before the people who receive the programme by post.  £15 for an e-mail!!

The concert that Mum and I attended was very good and I feel very lucky to have been there.  Ian Bostridge, tenor, accompanied by Thomas Ades on the piano performed Schubert’s song cycle ‘Winterreise’.  We have been to hear both these wonderful musicians before so knew that we were going to have a good concert.  I studied ‘Winterreise at school and grew to love it then so was really looking forward to the evening.  The concert started at 8.00p.m. and the whole cycle was sung without an interval.  We set off for home just after sunset and were home before dark.

Monday23rd was a busy day with lots of washing and shopping.

I took Mum out shopping today instead of on Wednesday as I am going to see A in Sheffield tomorrow and will be staying there for two nights, coming back home on Friday.  A is performing in another play and I am looking forward to seeing her in it.  I decided it might be nice to stay in Sheffield a little longer than usual as I would like to see the Botanical Garden which A says is very pleasant.  I might also do a little shopping!  A is still trying to finish her PhD but everything seems to be conspiring against her.  She recently had a fall and broke one of her fingers which has not made her PhD typing marathon easy.  She is unemployed again and has no income which is very worrying for her.  The play she will be performing in is ‘The Man of Mode’, a Restoration comedy written by George Etherege.


As I said at the beginning of this post, the garden is full of dragonflies and damselflies.  The garden is also full of Small Tortoiseshell butterflies especially, and a few other butterflies and insects.


Skipper butterfly

I think this is a Large Skipper.


Small Tortoiseshell

070Tortoiseshell butterfly

Small Tortoiseshell

I have included two photos of these butterflies to show the difference between a newly emerged butterfly and one that has been flying for a few days.  The second one is so bright!

002Six-spot Burnet on lobelia

Six-spot Burnet moth on lobelia



051Four-spotted chaser

Four-spotted Chaser

045LLavender with butterflies

Meadow Brown butterfly

056Female banded demoiselle

Female Banded Demoiselle

057Greater bindweed flower with pollen beetle and micro moth

Greater Bindweed flower with unidentified micro-moth and pollen beetle

The Greater Bindweed flower is the largest of our native flowers.

058Male broad-bodied chaser

Male Broad-bodied Chaser

060Male black-tailed skimmer

Male Black-tailed Skimmer

The last photos I am including are of Small Tortoiseshells again.

069Lavender with butterflies (cartoon) (2)

The reason I am including this photo is because…..

069Lavender with butterflies (cartoon)

….of this!!