Friday 31 July 2009

Today's Flowers #51

Ripening seed heads of Nigella damascena (Love-in-a-mist) This is an annual that self-seeds.

These heads are turning brown, soon to release their seeds. The pods are often cut and used in flower arrangements.

Close-up of a seed pod. If you shake the pod you can hear the seeds rattling inside.

Scented-leaf geranium: the flowers are usually quite insignificant as the plants are prized for the scent from their leaves. This one has an orange scent.

I think the flowers are worthy of notice . . .

Thank you to Luiz Santilli Jr., Denise Gullickson, Laerte Pupo and Valkyrien for hosting this meme.

If you'd like to see more gorgeous flower photos please click here

Thursday 30 July 2009

SkyWatch Friday #55 Mad, bad and dangerous to know

There was a terrific noise over our house on Thursday. We're used to aircraft en route from Heathrow Airport and military helicopters from various military bases around but this aircraft was incredibly noisy. At first I thought it was a 'see your house from the air' endeavour as the noise was circling the area. I grabbed my binoculars and went outside to discover a Police helicopter prowling. The siren hadn't sounded so I knew no-one had taken 'French leave' from the high-security pyschiatric hospital attached to this village - it takes an hour to search the grounds if one of the inmates has gone missing so the security services don't become active until after that. I took photographs as the helicopter clattered about overhead and eventually disappeared. Shall we ever know what was happening?

I do know that I would be chary of travelling in one of these aircraft - it didn't sound very 'sound' - but as I'm unlikely to be invited onto one as a passenger I shall not worry unduly.

As you can see the skies were busy building up interesting clouds and we have had much rain since - good for the soil, good for the skin - or so we're told (but you can have too much of a good thing . . . ;-[)
To see more skies around the world, please click here
Thank you to Klaus, Sandy, Ivar, Wren, Fishing Guy and Louise for hosting SkyWatch Friday

The Dog Days of My Life: #11 - Buddy

Buddy in his prime

Buddy, a real cool dude, modelling this season's sunglasses and scarf - all colour coordinated!
Buddy's green eyes soon changed to hazel. He adored Dominie as much as she loved him and Cariadd, glad to be relieved of the attentions of Dominie, observed their capers tolerantly.Buddy as a puppy playing 'sticks' with Dominie - New Forest
Bethan, then 15, decided she would take responsibility for him and he slept in her room. We worried that she would be too tired for her long school days if her sleep were to be constantly interrupted by the needs of a small puppy. As she was also feeling after two busy nights that the spirit was more willing and resilient than the flesh she was thankful to have Buddy join the other dogs in our bedroom. However he never forgot those first nights and even now, when she comes home, he wants to go into her room with her though he never stays all night.

People often wonder why we always have our dogs upstairs with us at night. Why not keep all the mess downstairs? We would rather have them close at hand so that if they are ill in the night or want to go out, particularly when they're very young, we can attend to them. It means we have disturbed nights but that's a small price to pay for peace of mind. Dominie has limited mobility and Frodo has unpredictable idiopathic epilepsy and we feel we could not leave them alone. Buddy occasionally decides to stay downstairs but it's rare.
Buddy and Dominie share a bed

Bethan wanted to try her hand at dog-showing. To this end we attended 'ringcraft' classes and entered Buddy for his first show. They were both shaking with nerves on that occasion. They had a certain amount of success in subsequent shows though Buddy never developed his 'second thigh'* – I mean, it must be there or he wouldn't be able to function, but it's not well enough defined. To the untrained, uncritical eye he looks just fine!

Dominie didn't like letting Buddy out of her sight. On one occasion, a special Dalmatian event where everyone really did have spots before their eyes, Dominie broke free of us and rushed into the ring to be with him which caused some mirth. Naturally Bethan was deeply embarrassed. I sometimes think teenagers are in a permanent state of embarrassment when their parents are in the vicinity.

Eventually Buddy got bored with the show-dog scene. Some dogs thoroughly enjoy strutting their stuff but for him trotting round a show-ring didn't measure up to running through the forest with Barry and the other dogs.

People who are not familiar with Dalmatians assume that they are like the stars of '101 Dalmatians' and will welcome any attention at all times. In fact they are quite reserved but friendly when approached with respect. They were originally bred to clear the way on the roads for the horse-drawn carriages and to accompany and protect their people against marauders, highwaymen and thieves. They were also a handsome, eye-catching accessory to the equipage, one running ahead, one running behind the rear wheels. The best – and smallest – ran between the wheels. The breed standard still demands that they be fit, athletic dogs capable of running for hours at a steady pace.

A common question Dalmatian people hear is 'Where are the other 100?' when walking or running with one. Two or more Dalmatians exercise the mathematical brain – 101 minus 2 or 3 is . . . umm . . . 98? 97?

'What's his name? Spot?' is another witticism we all hear. The funniest remarks are the ones relating to colour. Dalmatians have black spots – everyone knows that - but actually some have liver spots. 'Do they start off brown and turn black as they get older?' asked one interested walker while another on a different occasion asked, 'Do they turn brown when they're old?' Some think that liver-spotted dogs cannot possibly be 'proper' Dalmatians. Yet others are amazed to hear that the puppies are born white and their spots develop later.

All dogs are individuals. They may share some characteristics in common but they develop their characters uniquely. Buddy was very secure in his position in the tribe (that includes humans and cats) He loved his special human, Bethan, and by association all her relations. When Gillian's first baby was born Buddy was very unsure about this noisy, absorbing small mammal with the interesting smells. He would look and then retreat to a safe place where he could rest and not have to consider his reactions. Gillian was worried about him but we have never left small babies or children unattended with any of our dogs. Once Marnie had reached a more independent stage and was toddling about Buddy discovered that she was a source of unexpected and delicious treats and was therefore a creature to be accommodated and encouraged; he became as much her acolyte as the other dogs already were. Subsequent babies (five so far, two more for Gillian and three for Gareth) have been met with enthusiasm – more sticky fingers, more discarded spoons, dishes, fruit, finger foods, rusks.

He's never been a noisy boy, our liver lad. He shows his affection by gently nibbling the fingers of returning tribe members. In his younger days he caused much merriment among Bethan's friends through his habit of sitting bolt upright on the sofa, pushing his spine well back against the support cushions. Should anyone sit next to him they were subjected to 'the lean' as he gently, insistently rested his weight against that person and waited for 'the scratching of the chest' that invariably followed. He also loves being massaged; Bethan was the first person to introduce him to this and he luxuriates in it, eventually becoming glassy-eyed and completely relaxed. This is why he so much enjoys being groomed.

Noses are exceptionally important to dogs – through them they learn such a lot about the world around them. For Buddy his nose took the place of his under-developed second thigh and became a mighty muscle in its own right. If he wants attention he will nudge a hand, an elbow, a lap-top. To begin with the nudges are gentle, little more than a light tap, a glancing touch, but if not acknowledged they become increasingly insistent until they cannot be ignored – liquids are spilt from cups and glasses, pens create illegible hieroglyphics, books are cast to the floor. His nose's greatest strength lies in opening doors. All around our house, at BNL (Buddy's Nose Level) there can be seen evidence of the nose at work. Perhaps his greatest achievements have been in the conservatory. This leads from the kitchen via internal sliding patio doors and it is where the cats are fed twice a day. It is here that Buddy keeps watch and scent. If the cats are eating something particularly toothsome he applies his nose to the door and pushes until he has gained access. Thus, to foil him, we have to lock the door, but still he waits knowing that, of right, he has first call on any morsels left in their bowl.

In inverse proportion to his liking for food is his dislike for water. It stems from his puppyhood when he had a bad case of 'Dally rash' (canine folliculitis) and had to have daily baths with foul-smelling shampoos from the vet. He will do his utmost to avoid getting his paws wet which can be challenging for him when the ground is sodden. He will take great detours to circumvent puddles. If we go in the water, perhaps at the coast, he will follow us in quite happily but then he really thinks he's more of a human than a dog and if the humans are paddling then he should do likewise.

He has always been a very confident, friendly dog, happy to meet and greet other dogs so long as they observe the courtesies. This confidence has been knocked somewhat as his vision is now impaired due to uveitis** following a bout of severe meningitis two years ago which nearly killed him; I'm sure it has caused him to age more rapidly. He is now thirteen and sees shapes and shadows, light and dark, dim outlines, movement. 

Consequently, if he gets sidetracked by an interesting sniff, he loses his sense of where we are. Sometimes he finds people to whom he can attach himself, which they find charming, particularly when they discover why. At other times he trots off resolutely, often in the wrong direction. Occasionally, although he may be close behind us, he will turn round and pace away at increasing speed. I send Jenna to guide him back. His beautiful hazel eyes are clouded blue now and many people comment on them, often asking if he has cataracts. His sense of smell is still acute but his hearing is failing and he is growing old, our boy. Old age comes suddenly to dogs, it seems. We learn so much from them and we still know so little about them. All the while he has energy and youth around him he will continue to strive and thrive – a lesson for us all, I think.
Buddy (13) and Tia (7) share a sofa - July 2009

*Second Thigh: the part of the hindquarters, corresponding to the human shin and calf, from the stifle to the hock.
**Uveitis: a condition where the part of the eye that supplies blood to the retina becomes inflamed. The inflammation causes proteins to leak out resulting in cloudiness in the eye.

Wednesday 29 July 2009

Blood tests and pigs

Barry had to have a routine blood test a few weeks ago. When he phoned the surgery for the results he was told they had been lost by the laboratory and could he give them some more blood? So the appointment was made and then later changed by the surgery.

Eventually he went to have a sample taken early one morning which was just as well because it was a 'fasting' blood test. He noticed that the nurse didn't take as much as she had done before but thought no more about it. Today the surgery phoned, full of apologies because not enough of his blood had been siphoned off for the various tests to be conducted. Would it be possible for him to attend tomorrow morning?

Barry then explained that he has not been feeling very well for a couple of days and would rather not go out unless absolutely necessary. The receptionist asked him to describe his symptoms and then advised him to contact the NHS help line. After a short conversation it was confirmed that he has swine flu. There is nothing further to be done. He will remain in bed where he has been for the last two days, and continue taking paracetamol and plenty of fluids.

Now, I know I really shouldn't say this and I don't mean a word of it but I simply cannot resist . . . I always said he was a pig and now he's got the flu to prove it!

Winston’s July blog

This is one of my July 2009 portraits

Winston here . . . p'rrrrr, p'rrrrr . . .
Well, it's busy here again don'tcha know. Gillian and the children came with their dogs for a couple of days.

On one of the days Gillian cuddled Monty while Marnie clipped his claws. Mrs Human sometimes clips them but says she hasn't got enough hands and Mr H says he'll help but then doesn't coz he gets wrapped up in other things. Then Marnie did mine and she was surprised coz I struggled and Monty didn't and I'm really a much more laid-back cat than him. Anyway, we don't click on the floor quite so much now.

Me and Monty are always pleased to see different visitors. We specially like Foxy coz she's ever so soft. She's almost the same colour as me but the humans say she's fox-red colour. I'm not – I'm hot chocolate. Anyway we look good together, her and me. I rubbed all round her face when she first arrived and she looked a bit confused. Then I heard Gillian telling Mr and Mrs H – they're her parents don'tcha know – anyway she told them that Mouse doesn't let Foxy do that to her. Me and Monty've never met Mouse. She lives in Dorset in Gillian and Paul's house and she's an old cat. Yes, that's right – she's a cat called Mouse.

I don't know – these humans, what would you do with them? Mouse had a sister called Buttons but she was killed on the road when she was very young. I'm glad me and Monty don't go out – well, only sometimes for a quick sniff round the garden. So – two cats, one called after something humans put on their clothes to stop them falling off and one named for a small wild animal us cats normally hunt. As if that's not enough they called one of their dogs Tia, short for Tia Maria – that's a drink – and the other one's dubbed Foxy after another bigger wild animal. I s'pose foxes do look a bit like dogs – we see them sometimes walking across the garden.

When Gillian and the children went home they left Tia and Foxy here. Apparently they're staying for about two weeks for their holiday. Monty's ever so pleased coz he really likes dogs and Foxy don't mind him padding her. She don't mind what he does – she just likes the attention.

Even with these extra mouths to feed it's pretty quiet. Mr H isn't feeling very well – something to do with pigs he thought but Mrs H says he's just under the weather. Funny that, last time I saw him he was under the duvet. Mrs H says he's caught Gillian's cold. Hope the hot sun in France is making her feel better.

I see it's nearly supper-time. Every time Mrs H has moved for the last hour all the dogs have leapt up and followed her, even Tia who's upstairs keeping Mr H company. She and Foxy aren't allowed on the beds in their house don'tcha know but as Mr and Mrs H said, they're on holiday too. It's a bit busy up there at night though and noisy too if they're snoring. Ooh supper – yum!

This is Monty and Jenna in July 2009 and for once Monty's kept his claws to himself


Dominie and the young dogs

Dominie in November 2008 not long after she started wearing her harness and before she needed wheels.

Foxy keeping Dominie company. The reflective strips on Dominie's harness are very effective!

Dominie is restricted in her movements. Once she's on all four paws she's able to stagger around but with only her front legs working to maintain her position she is easily knocked off balance. Like all sensible dogs she then gives in and falls gracefully (sometimes not quite so gracefully) to the floor. She is then effectively immobilised until lifted by means of her 'Ruffwear' harness and placed where she indicates she wants to be. She's a very patient animal and only vocalises when she needs something. It may be that she wants to turn round in her bed – she can roll from side to side but can't stand up and change position. Sometimes she wants to go outside to relieve herself or to drink from the pond or simply to wander round the garden sniffing. At other times she wants to drink from the two gallon water container in the kitchen which is refilled each day or else she just wants some attention. She's always been a very affectionate dog but can't bestow affection independently any more. Stroking and talking to her, letting her lick one's feet (a great cure for Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) and extremely relaxing) help her to understand that she is still involved in family life.
This morning she fell over and started to whine. Jenna immediately went to her to try and give her a toy. When Dominie showed that she wasn't interested Jenna started licking her. Every time Dominie told her to stop Jenna politely turned her head aside and then resumed when Dominie was quiet again. By this time Foxy had gone to see what was going on and started trying to groom Dominie, again stopping when Dominie asked her to. It was fascinating to watch the interplay between the elderly Dalmatian and the two young working Labradors. The old lady accepted their attentions but strictly on her terms. They were respectful, quiet and calm, understanding that though she may be frail and sometimes helpless she is nonetheless the elder, the head of the hierarchy.
Once Dominie was settled and relaxed again the two youngsters had a rough and tumble together.
Jenna and Foxy letting off steam. Jenna is always in the ascendant even though she's a few months younger than Foxy. Foxy restricts Jenna's 'attack' by grabbing her collar.

Although there's a great deal of noise and some clashing of teeth they are simply playing and there's absolutely no aggression in their play fights. Foxy and Jenna both come from Threevalleys Gundogs in Wales and are bred to work cooperatively. Their breeders, Charlotte and Ali, spend hours with each litter of puppies socialising them. Consequently the pups are very confident and friendly.

Tuesday 28 July 2009

Skewed views?

The Ministry of Defence is going to court to appeal against increased compensation awarded to two soldiers, one injured in training, one injured in combat. The lawyers' argument is expected to be that only initial injuries should be compensated, not subsequent health problems. If every case were to be judged on its merits then the uneasy feeling I have might not be justified. My fear is that if the MoD wins its appeal this victory might be thought to set a precedent in all following judgements. A fractured thigh may lead to arthritis later on which might not be considered too difficult to live with (except by the sufferer) A person blinded in a bomb attack will need help to adjust to a sightless existence. What of those victims suffering psychological trauma following physical injury? What about severe injuries which might have unforeseen complications many years hence? Certainly the compensation should be appropriate but surely there cannot be one set payment for each description of injury with no thought for the future, no evaluation of what might develop?

Meanwhile, while the armed forces continue to fight in Afghanistan at the command of the Government, Members of Parliament, recently entangled in a grimy expenses scandal, have managed to pass new rules allowing them to claim £25 per night without presenting receipts, giving them a potential extra payment of £9125 per annum. The subsistence allowance can be claimed for refreshments for any night spent away on business.

MPs have also awarded themselves a pay rise below inflation of 2.25% while at the same time keeping the so-called 'John Lewis' list which enables them to spend taxpayers' money on furniture and household goods for their second homes. Average pay for MPs is £64776 on top of which they receive additional allowances to run their offices, employ staff, find places to live in London and their constituencies and to cover travel between Parliament and their constituencies. The pay rise will bring average pay to £66,223. A possible £9125 in food and drink expenses raises it to £75348. Some MPs are paid more for special responsibilities such as Chairmen of Select Committees and Speaker of the House. Those who are government ministers receive an extra salary.

There are currently 646 MPs. The annual bill for these our servants will be £48,674,808 at the very least.

Monday 27 July 2009

Beans, beans, beans . . .

Green beans, runner beans, string beans, French beans, snap beans, shell beans (Phaseolus vulgaris)- whatever you may call them in your neck of the woods these elongated pods are sweet and delicious eaten young and raw, chopped into salads or stir-fried. When older they may be steamed, boiled, cooked in the microwave or added to casseroles.
They originate from South and Central America where they grow wild. Domesticated beans are larger; the earliest archaeological evidence of these is from 5500 BC in the mountains of North Peru.
As with so many vegetables the flowers are very pretty. Indeed some varieties are specially bred to produce attractive blooms.
I doubt we shall harvest more than half a dozen handfuls but we're pleased to see any that care to grow and treat them with the reverence they deserve . . . before devouring them . . . ;-)
Enough to tease the taste buds . . .

More vegetables!

I realise I may be getting a little over-excited about our vegetables but I have high hopes of our tomatoes this year. We're not usually very successful but this time, with dozens of plants, surely some will bear fruit that will actually ripen for once!These are flowers on one of the plants on 16th July . . .

. . . and these are some small green tomatoes on 16th July . . .
These are the same tomatoes today, eleven days later, 27th July . . .

. . . and these are on another plant! We have, potentially, almost enough for a couple of tomato sandwiches . . . ;-)
Of course, we were rather late in sowing the seeds so they won't have had the optimum growing period . . . (sigh) . . . well, there's always next year! I'll keep you posted.
Note how I've used a tomato-coloured font for this post . . . I like to co-ordinate!

Sunday 26 July 2009

Today's Flowers #50

Nasturtiums grow like weeds in our garden! I have picked flowers and leaves to eat with salad leaves - peppery! I always look carefully at the undersides of the leaves, many of which play host to hordes of blackfly, and leave those on the plant.
I took this photograph for the beautifully variegated leaves which look as though they've been marbled. (Does anyone remember 'marbling' at school? Satisfying results in a very quick time. I tried it with a couple of primary school classes I taught too . . . ;-))

I thought this nasturtium was quite outstanding in its colour and form.
Photos will enlarge if clicked
I always thought capers were the pickled seed heads of nasturtiums but have just discovered that 'proper' capers come from the Caper plant (Capparis spinosa) which is native to the Mediterranean where it grows wild. Capers are widely used in Mediterranean cuisine.
Those I have always fondly held to be the real McCoy are actually known as 'Poor Man's Capers' and are a cheap substitute for the genuine and expensive article. Nonetheless I intend to pickle some this year and if we live to tell the tale I'll let you know what we all thought of them.
Thanks are owed to Luiz Santilli Jr., Denise Gullickson, Laerte Pupo and Valkyrien for hosting 'Today's Flowers'.
To enjoy other blooms from around the world please click here

Pet Pride - Winston and Monty Ocicat slumbering

Winston and Monty Ocicat slumbering on a warm early Sunday morning

Thank you to Bozo and his human for hosting this meme.
To see more beautiful pets please click here.

Saturday 25 July 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday #62

Thank you to Hey Harriet for hosting this meme.

To see more shadow shots please click on the Shadow Shot Sunday logo.

Camera Critters #68

When we take the dogs walking I usually take my camera (Canon Ixus 980) It's small enough to go in a pocket or to carry in my free hand ready for action. In the other hand I carry the ball-flinger to keep Jenna-the-Labrador entertained. As Gillian and Paul's dogs are staying with us at the moment it keeps them busy too.
Last Thursday we were strolling along, Barry hauling Dominie, Buddy and Frodo catching up on pee-mails, the Labradors hurling themselves into every puddle and pond they came to and me scanning for activitiy. Then I saw a roe deer; she was in an area where we often see deer. I tried to photograph her but she was some distance away and wary. We would eventually pass the other side of this small area and I was hopeful of seeing her again.
At one of the new ponds, excavated earlier this year when tree harvesting was being carried out, Frodo and the Labradors swam and drank and paddled and played. When Dominie was independent she loved to swim and so Barry lets her roll gently into the pond where she can enjoy the sensation of water on her body, drink some of it and revisit earlier times for a little while. When she's had enough she lies in the sun to rest and lick herself while Buddy and Frodo pace about, sniffing here and there and the Labradors chase the ball.

Barry guides Dominie into the water as Buddy watches. Jenna has collected the ball on this occasion.

Now Tia has the ball. As usual Jenna is wearing her transmitter collar so that we know which direction to worry in when she disappears!
Foxy, Gillian and Paul's fox-red Labrador, learnt long ago that treats were far more satisfying to retrieve than a slobbery ball so stopped trying to keep up with Tia and Jenna. I don't often take titbits out with me now but she still looks hopefully at me, my hands, my pockets. She is slowly realising that she is a retriever and she can sometimes get to the ball before the others, so long as she has a headstart - that is, if I fool the others into going in the wrong direction first. They can never quite believe she has found it and will go on looking until they realise she has it, then Jenna takes it from her! Foxy never objects - she really is a very sweet-tempered dog.

Foxy has the ball. Jenna and Tia haven't realised where I've thrown it and are quartering the ground beyond the pond.
Dominie's pleasures in life include meeting new people and dogs. Most people stop to enquire about the reason for her wheels.Some dogs are spooked by the unfamiliar silhouette she presents but usually the dog greetings follow the routine and etiquette they always have. She particularly likes little dogs and on Thursday she met two out with their humans. One of them was a rescue dog - we meet quite a few of these in our perambulations, from small cross-breeds to retired racing Greyhounds to working breeds that have proved too much for their original owners or breeders. The sky was ever-changing and threatening rain - indeed wehad a torrential downpour later in the evening - so we proceeded on our way. Sure enough, when we reached the opposite side of the stretch where I had spotted the doe, there she was again. Now she was accompanied by a young buck who appeared to have only one antler. Barry took over ball-flinging duties - we knew if Jenna caught sight, sound or scent of the deer she would have been off!
The deer are beyond the pond between the two groups of small trees. Frodo is paddling and slaking his thirst.
Frodo, my velcro dog, accompanied me as I slowly approached the pair, happily paddling and keeping an eye on me. The doe and buck were aware of me but seemed unfazed, looking at me now and again and then resuming their grazing.
He looks at me while she looks in the other direction.Deer slot
Eventually, after I had been watching and photographing and moving closer for about seven minutes, the doe went into cover where she continued to watch me for a while before vanishing.
The buck looked long and hard at me. I wonder what happened to his right antler? Finally he decided that discretion was the better part of valour and left the scene . . . but unhurriedly, at his leisure.
I don't think I'll ever get over my excitement at seeing deer - they are truly beautiful elegant creatures and their ability to melt into the shrubs and trees is amazing.

Next time we'll take Barry's Canon 40D with a telephoto lens and hopefully the photographs will be much better quality. Of course, the mere act of taking it with us will probably guarantee we shan't see any wild animals!
Thank you to Misty Dawn for creating this meme and to Misty and Tammy for hosting it.

Friday 24 July 2009

SkyWatch Friday #54

In the course of an hour . . . on a July afternoon . . . in the south of England . . .and there was torrential rain a little while later . . .

To enjoy more skies from around the world please click here

Thank you to Klaus, Sandy, Ivar, Wren, Fishing Guy and Louise, who host SkyWatch Friday

Thursday 23 July 2009

Summer Holidays 2009

Gillian and the children arrived on Sunday to spend a couple of days with us. Paul remained at home to finish off some work before they head off to the south-west of France tomorrow for a cycling, walking, wind-surfing, camping holiday (sounds exhausting!)
Gillian brought a huge bag of fresh salad leaves from her Dorset garden complete with a myriad Dorset bugs. She also gave us a bunch of 'Thumbelina' carrots which are not the usual conical shape but more spherical. They taste delicious.

Yesterday they all went home to pack the last bits and pieces leaving Tia and Foxy behind with us for their holiday. No doubt we shall be taking many photographs . . .

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Dingy Skipper

This butterfly landed on one of the courgettes last week and instead of taking flight as soon as I approached, it obligingly remained in situ while I fetched my camera and took photographs. When I looked in my reference books and online I finally identified it, I hope correctly, as a Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages) Apparently no British butterfly more closely resembles a moth than this one particularly when it is resting as its wings curve in a most unbutterfly-like way.
I had to smile at the description of its common habitats - chalk downland (our ground is fairly heavy with a good deal of clay); heathland (our garden could never be mistaken for this!);railway lines (there's a model railway layout in the loft . . . );disused quarries (definitely not); waste ground (that would be an unkind description even for our little plot). It likes areas of bare earth (we have a few of those, but they're more like bare mud) taller vegetation for roosting (ah, that's it then! Our courgettes are very tall!)
It seems that this little butterfly is in decline because of loss of habitat. Never mind, we'll keep growing courgettes and that way we'll do our bit for conservation.