Sunday, 2 April 2017

My Tenant

Dear Reader,


I have heard and read quite a bit about ladybirds this week.  They seem to have come out of their winter hiding places, and appear all over windows and window sills, cupboards and wherever else they feel like going.  And this has not, by and large, pleased the house owners.

There are 27 different species of ladybird in Britain, but not all are recognized as ladybirds; indeed, some are quite dull-looking and not brightly coloured or spotty.  The most common species is the seven-spot ladybird.  This bright red ladybird is thought to have inspired the name ladybird, "Lady"referring to the Virgin Mary (our Lady) who in early paintings is seen wearing a red cloak, and the seven spots are symbolic of the seven joys and seven sorrows of Mary.  Ladybirds spend the winter months in a dormant state, but when the weather warms up in March the adults begin to get active and search for early aphids to eat.  The adults mate in the spring and the females lay eggs during the spring and early summer.

A new type of ladybird has arrived in Britain called the Harlequin ladybird, and it is the most invasive one on earth.  It threatens our native ladybirds and other species, has a tendency to overwinter indoors and leave an unpleasant stain from its bodily fluid when frightened or squashed - and it bites!

Looking at the photographs above of these two types of ladybird, I can't really see the difference between them.  But obviously there is - it must be the number of spots to be counted.


My Tenant

Aunty Anne
lives in my head
sits in a comfortable
velvet armchair
and listens to me

she is a wise woman
plump with a pretty face
wears a white lacy blouse
a long patchwork skirt
has her hair in a bun

she smells of rose petals
rose water and barley sugars
and she gives me
good advice

away with miserable
thoughts at night,
she says, think
of the sunshine,
the sea, characters you love in books

then she puts
her arms around me
kisses my cheek
murmurs she loves me
and all will be well

and it is
I sleep

With best wishes, Patricia

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't much like the sound of this new ladybird invader! But love your poem about Aunty Anne - the tennant who lives in your head. Lovely idea! Xx