Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Wednesday 23rd June 10

Another reasonably productive day, and a definite highlight at the end.

So, a slow start to the day... bits of washing up and stuff around the house, Gill went out to get a pre-birthday hair do, and came back looking even more lovely than she usually does.

In the afternoon, I took a shopping list to Country Fresh, picked up a couple of sacks of goodies, then went to Alligator and did the same. Round to Cycle Heaven to find out if the saddle I'd ordered was in yet, and weirdly the order had been cancelled. When I got in, I think I found out why... they did have one in. I'll pop in sometime and have it fitted.

From here I cycled along the West bank of the river and then crossed at Lendal Bridge to go and visit my dentist, as I was wondering when my next appointment was. I got a date in August.

Then on to see Sarah who used to run Kyi Po on Goodramgate. She found that the 'vegan only' fare wasn't attracting enough custom, so she started selling alcoholic drinks (vegan ones) and has now completely changed to being Gluggles, an off licence. Sarah had invited me to go there and pick up a few bags of flour which were left over from the old shop, and I was pleased to see Matt there. We chatted for a few minutes and he showed me the selection of local wines, including a range from Ryedale Vinyeards, and several from a little further away. We discussed carbon footprints and carbon rationing.

Then I went to Sainsburys to get cereal, bread, vegan ice cream (for Gill), asparagus (ditto) and cheese. And then home.

We had an early 'toastie' tea, as my eldest had agreed to come with me to a lecture at the University, as part of Insect Week. We set off cycling soon after 6pm and got to the Physics block in good time for the 3-part event. It was entitled 'The Wet, Weird and Wonderful World of Garden Insects'. First up was Duncan Sivell, who is the Biodiversity Acton Manager for Buglife, the only charity in Europe working to conserve all invertebrates. He talked us through the various insects found in ponds, such as diving beetles, scavenging beetles, Reed beetles, assorted sucking bugs including skaters, water scorpions and two sorts of 'skimmer', which I know as water boatmen, the dragonflies and damselflies, 'riverflies' including Caddis, May and Stone flies, and the true flies including one of my favourites, the drone fly, a hover fly which has a larva known as a Rat Tailed Maggot. He also talked a bit about ponds and the Million Ponds Project, which I think I'll register with, as I'm in the process of building one.

The next presentation was by Dr David Chesmore, who is very keen on moths and butterflies, but researches invertebrate noise in the physics/electronics department. He described his work as the 'Weird' bit of the lecture, and described how invertebrates make noises, and why, and then played some sound files for us, things like woodboring beetle noises, plant hoppers, grasshoppers, cicadas and more. I never knew that the Tiger Moth responded to bat noises by emitting it's own bat-like noise to confuse them. Or that some web-building caterpillars have sound battles to win access to each other's tent-like homes.

The final presenter was my friend Anneliese Emmans Dean, who is a brilliant poet and performer, and she presented some of her insect photos, stories and poems. I always enjoy what she does. I think she was definitely the 'Wonderful' part of the presentation.

My son enjoyed it lots, and we chatted to some of the other people for a while afterwards before cycling home. I was extremely happy to have had an evening out with him, really glad he said yes, and I think he was too.

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