It’s a strange moment when you realise that the sound of nature is the sound of millions of animals, birds and insects desperately trying to get laid. Unknown
A week or so ago we had a spell of the most gorgeous warm sunshine. It was unseasonably warm and it felt like summer had arrived – the days felt a decent length, with lighter evenings, after the clocks had gone forwards a couple of weeks earlier. I took my work outside at any opportunity and sat doing my polishing in shirt sleeves – an unexpected bonus for the middle of April. Although it’s slightly incongruous to sit out with tulips in bloom and no leaves on the trees.
We often get early warm periods like this, lulling us into thinking that summer has actually arrived, then as quickly as it arrived, it vanishes again and we’re reminded of just how early in the year it still actually is. I went to post some orders today, grabbing an opportunity of dryness between wintry showers and really regretted not putting on my gloves, as I walked to the letterbox. My afternoon sojourns to polish in the garden bathed in sunshine felt like an especially surreal and distant memory.
Whilst sitting outside during this nice spell, I was aware of how many insects were now active, presumably spurred into activity by the rise in temperature. Nothing evokes the idea of summer quite as readily as the sound of insects busy at work and I had several treats during this period.
Left you can see an Orange-tip butterfly I photographed in the garden. It flew past me and I dashed to grab the camera and by the time I found it and got it ready, he had settled on a climbing hydrangea I have growing up the end wall of the garden. I took the photograph and was annoyed that a plant label was reflecting the sun and dominating the frame, so as I adjusted my position to try and photograph him with a better background, my moving shadow must have spooked him and he was soon off over the wall and away.
Ironically, that in itself turns out to be the interesting point. I wasn’t wholly sure of the name of the species, so turned to my books for confirmation. And there I read that male Orange-tip butterflies emerge in April and their first task is to find a mate.
The lady Orange-tips aren’t actually orange, they’re grey where the lovely chap above is orange and consequently, the males, in their quest for a girlfriend, land on anything white hoping that they’ve found a willing female. He returned to the garden briefly several times during the day, variously landing on lightly variegated leaves and the same obviously enticing plant label. I hope he was successful at some later point.
I’ve always been fond of hoverflies and keep some plants in the garden that I know they favour. I love the way they drop their undercarriage to land and they don’t bother you, sting or bite and I’m happy to have them visit the garden.
There were several of these large hairy bee-like species and they alternated between hovering in the air in the sunshine and washing their legs on the tops of leaves. Love was clearly in the air as we saw several coupled as they hovered, which must be quite a feat in itself – presumably they find it safer to be airborne whilst distracted and vulnerable rather than a potential double meal for something if they landed to get down to business.
My work this week:
I’ve revisited some of my ‘classic’ designs for some new variations recently. Some pieces continue to sell well even though their first incarnations were early in my career and I seem to have been working on several of those again recently – although I do perpetually hone the designs as my technique and workmanship improves. There are some designs that as soon as I get back in stock, they’re gone again. The earrings below are a variation on the rosebud knots that I’ve now done in many different formats and even as I made these, I had a subsequent idea for a bracelet link, which I’ve just started making up.