Easy As Falling Off a Bike pt 3216

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The Weekly Dormouse.
(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Part 3216
by Angharad

Copyright© 2017 Angharad

  
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For some reason the sun shone the next day and I let its warmth sooth my ruffled feathers and we did a butterfly count around the orchard and the meadow next to it. I had loads of helpers, though Danni had gone to see Cindy—she was celebrating that she now was on hormones after years of being on just blockers. They were going off to watch a film to celebrate.

Livvie had borrowed my SLR camera and using a tube with my small telephoto lens was taking some good pictures from as far away as about a foot. Trish and Hannah were using their smart phone cameras and Meems was watching the smaller girls like a mother hen.

We weren’t doing too badly, a couple of commas and small tortoiseshells along one hedge, with some red admirals and peacocks on the buddleia in the orchard. I tried to point out the difference between large and small whites and it isn’t always the size as some small whites can actually be bigger than some large ones—I know, isn’t biology wonderful?

The thing with them is that, the large has more black on the wing edges as if you have tome to see that when they’re whizzing past ten foot above your head. In the sunshine we disturbed a basking slow worm which probably grumbled about humans as it slunk off under the hedge, it’s pinky-bronze coloured body shimmering in the sunshine. Like most reptiles, they’re what we call exothermic, so use external sources of heat to warm themselves up unlike the mammals which are endothermic, meaning they control their own body temperature internally. Having said that, I wished I’d worn shorts like the girls were as my jeans were feeling decidedly warm in the sunshine, as were my feet in my walking boots.

I’ve always worn reasonable boots but when I was in uni and we did fieldwork, and sometimes in classes, I wore trousers that I bought from an army surplus shop, which originated in the Italian or German army, no one seemed to notice they fastened on the wrong side—they were women’s ex-army trousers, but they seemed to fit reasonably well, even better when I got hormones and my shape improved. It was going that way already but the pills helped quite a bit and my bum became a growth area.

“Mummy, wossthisone?” asked Hannah pulling on my arm and my reverie was over.

“Speckled wood, that’s one of the browns, like the meadow brown—there’s one,” I pointed to the brown butterfly cruising over the meadow’s hedge. The girl’s laughter disturbed a sparrow hawk which shot off like a rocket, squawking agitatedly at us making the girls laugh even louder until they spotted the remains of the blackbird it had been feasting on. Nature red in tooth and claw. It’s the reality of life, in a less managed environment, by that, I mean one in which some of the apex predators are not exterminated by humans, everything is eaten by something bigger or more powerful. In Africa, lions are mainly killed by hyenas and hyenas are mainly killed by lions—which has a sort of balance to it, but many of the large predators are also injured hunting, which is always a risky business. Taking down another large animal is always going to have risks involved and things like cheetahs, which have that apparently spring loaded back, often becomes injured in the pursuit, their lightweight muscular bodies designed for speed often suffer injuries running over uneven ground.

“Look a fox, Mummy,” yelled Trish and nearly frightened the poor hapless animal to death. We could certainly smell it when we got to that part of the field. We also have badgers in the field, or the sett has an entrance into the field, it also has a latrine—badgers tend to keep their setts clean, sadly when they use a collective place for depositing their waste products, things like spaniels like to roll in it—which was why she wasn’t with us today.

When the butterflies were in short supply we turned our attention to wild flowers and the girls discovered that I was no botanist, having to refer to a field guide if it wasn’t some very common species. Finally we spotted some blue butterflies and spent an hour chasing those trying to get photos. We failed miserably but they all enjoyed themselves and in the sunshine topped up their supplies of vitamin D, which is manufactured in the skin by ultraviolet light—especially in fair skinned people.

At lunch, which David made for us, I enjoyed the luxury of having someone else make the meal and clear up afterwards. Then it was back to the magazine article submission on edible dormice—it was total rubbish and I said so and why, by which time it was nearly six o’clock and I rushed up to shower before dinner.

It felt good to wash away the dust of the day and to slip into a dress not that Simon would notice unless it was either very short or split down the middle. It was neither, but it was cool and after drying my hair I helped David dish up the meal. Simon texted to say he was staying up in town, he had an early meeting the next day and was staying with his dad. I wondered if Henry would drag him out onto the tennis court to avenge his defeat from yesterday—though quite honestly, I didn’t care as their rivalry was schoolboy stuff and thus outside my interest.

The girls watched a DVD of Frozen and then went to bed, Tom, who’d been at the office all day, read to them and despite their pretence to be growing up, they still love a bedtime story when we have time to read them one—though the type of tale is now teen literature—quite what the fascination with vampires is, goodness only knows.

I settled myself down with a cuppa and watched the JK Rowling detective story of Cormorant Strike on iPlayer—looked quite good and I enjoyed it, even if it was a bit clichéd in places. I’ll have to try and catch the other parts next weekend and the following one.

Simon called as I was getting ready for bed—he was lonely and wanted a chat, I was tired and wanted to sleep but I managed to stay awake for half an hour when his battery, or more correctly, that of his mobile phone, began to peep and he had to go and charge it. I was asleep minutes later.

The next morning I had to go to the office because we had a problem I had to sort out, Diane couldn’t do it, I also cancelled our holiday because we weren’t going to have time to go and the problem was going to need my presence as well as Daddy’s for at least the next week—the financial auditors discovered what looked like a major fraud and the university was a million pounds out of pocket.

The police were informed and we spent much of the day going through bits of paper and computerised accounts—as the money was taken from my department, I wanted to try and make sure we recovered what we could or at least got the bastard responsible, which at this stage looked pretty remote.

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