Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Good moth, good man, good tea

The nights continue cold between glorious days and accordingly the moths remain modest. But a pleasant, if familiar, one came to roost two nights ago: the Early Grey above, which is in truth a little late in its usual season of early March (sometimes late February) to May.

Actually, our household's champion spotter of insects outside the trap, Mrs W, did find an Earlier Grey indoors more than six weeks ago when the trap was out of action and we didn't know how to use our new camera. Here's our somewhat blurry record, left.

I like the moth for three reasons, none of them scientific. It is a welcome contrast from the infuriating world of small, browny-grey lookalikes which I still can't tell apart. Its name reminds me of our early morning tea, half builder's, half Early Grey, which I must soon take up to my above-mentioned companion. And it also brings to mind Lord Grey of Fallodon who as British Foreign Secretary made the memorable remark in 1914: "The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our life-time."

He was also a formidable naturalist and there is a lovely passage in his book The Charm of Birds which  catches the joy of walking and watching alone in the countryside and the wealth of wildlife which will be seen as a result. Observe an example, right: Viscount Grey with a robin on his hat. The tea is not named after him but his great-grandfather's older brother, the second earl, who was Prime Minister at the time of the Great Reform Bill of 1832 and was given a diplomatic present of a packet of tea flavoured with oil of bergamot, as the delicious stuff still is today.

Here's another one which came last night


RappinRach said...

Interesting! Love the picture of the robin on his head.

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there! It's great, isn't it. Quite a few politicians have been keen naturalists. Poor old Neville Chamberlain who has such a bad reputation for his over-optimism about Hitler was a great expert on butterflies and moths. There's a rather moving piece in his diaries about watching birdlife in St James's Park during the final crisis with Hitler. Churchill was highly enthusiastic too, as he was about everything. He tried to reintroduce the extinct Black-veined White butterfly to Kent at his home, Chartwell, telling the entomologist L Hugh Newman: 'Let me have your plan, and let it be a plan of action'. Alas, it failed. All warmest, Martin