We had just got through Heritage Week when Kim decided we should put up the tent.  Colin stoically obliged and pitched it in the Lawn beside the gate into the stream.  For four nights the sounds of Kim and Ivor sleeping peacefully and the late summer rush of traffic on the M50 kept him awake. Each morning, they trooped in, while I was still in bed.  Colin looked more and more haggard.  My excuse was that the tent, which admittedly is a large tent, has two cramped sleeping compartments best occupied by one person (or two very small people).  And Colin was reporting claustrophobia already . . . so it seemed like the best solution was for me to stay in the house with Jo, and provide dinner to cook or reheat on the camp fire.

Kim spotted the first one, a spark in the grass.  And next to it was another ladybird, clambering its way up a blade. And then we noticed that the field was full of them, five or six to a square foot.  All were seven-spot which, I think, is the commonest species of ladybird in Ireland.  And so it has continued: this tiny, clown army out on practice manoeuvres high above the city.  In Wexford, a man from Gorey told me yesterday, a factory had to close early as the air conditioning sucked in the insects and speckled the floor red.

We’re all back inside now that the school year has started, listening to the radio, and mindful of those who aren’t.

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