Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A Merveille du Jour Pays Us A Visit, and Causing Mayhem At Danebury Hill Fort

You know how I said a couple of weeks back that I have been wanting Very Much to see a Merveille du Jour ever since I discovered their existence? And that I got very excited when one of these most beautiful of moths visited the Oxfordshire garden of my blogging pal Martin, because traditionally his moths have visited us a few days after they've been to see him? Well, the box was out last night for the first time in quite a few days (due to a combination of inclement weather and college commitments), and although I wasn't holding out much hope for many moths at all (let alone my Holy Grail Moth) because it was a clear night with temps down to 3 degrees here and Mothy People don't think much of clear weather and cold nights, guess what was asleep on one of the egg boxes when I brought the trap in to empty it.......

A Merveille du Jour!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I took Quite A Large Number Of Photos (well, I may never see one again so I had to make the most of its visit didn't I? Not unlike the time I came downstairs to discover M dressed as a woman doing the washing up), so if you're not Moth-Proof I suggest scrolling down to the bit about the male members of my family mistaking themselves for Iron Age Warriors and scrapping at Danebury Hillfort this afternoon.....

Sunlit (love the bobbly detail on the coat)

I want a pair of stripey stockings like these

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful


More Sighs......

Look! I have an MDJ actually sitting on my hand! (in fact, it turns out MDJ's are Quite Capable of scooping several Oscars for their convincing ability to Play Dead In Dramatic Ways. This one fell off the table and plummeted to the floor where he lay upside down on his back with his legs in the air for quite some time after I suggested he might like to sit on a pencil for some photos- not, I have to admit, something I would be overly keen on doing myself, but then I am not a moth). Fortunately he was only pretending, and so we compromised on my hand and I put the pencil away.
Although I found it hard to Tear Myself Away, we did also visit Danebury, our local Iron Age Hillfort, this afternoon for the regulation Weekend Walk With Teenagers.

They were overjoyed, as they always are at the prospect of a walk in the country with their parents. F and J bickered constantly all the way there about who was wearing whose boots (despite them now being so close in size as to be virtually indistinguishable, as evidenced by the mix up in the first place), and L proceeded to puncture every step he took by either punching my arm or requesting that I try to punch him so he could demonstrate how to block them. When I replied that mothers generally don't enjoy thumping their sons unless they have done something Very Bad Indeed To Deserve It, he said: "Oh, come on mum! It'll be a useful thing for you to know. What happens if someone tries to attack you?"
"I'll sing them your "oh baby, why did you leave me?" song," I replied. "I expect that would make the Run AwayVery Quickly and quite possibly regret ever coming anywhere near me." 

I think he has forgotten that it is possible to walk beside someone without attempting to a) push them over or b) give them a dead arm. I was about to complain to his father about this Overly Boyish Behaviour when glancing ahead I saw M and F engaged in more or less identical behaviour. They were walking side by side each trying to kick the other up the bum by flicking their feet sideways.

No chance of any help from that quarter then.

Thankfully, a better target presented itself before my arm turned purple and I got so fed up with the punching that I pushed L over in a sheep poo.
Not some random stranger, this is in fact his father

F joined in too

I took advantage of their attention being otherwise engaged to make good my escape and wandered off to look at some Gorgeous Sunlit Beech Trees and the Wonderful Views that circle the Hillfort....

When I returned most of the male members of my family had got themselves under control and were more or less behaving, although J had mysteriously fallen over in the middle of the path for no apparent reason (she is given to doing this). But now Teddy was disgracing himself. He had rushed enthusiastically up to a rather primped and polished poodle who was having a discreet poo on the side of the track. I watched in silent horror as our ragamuffin squealed to halt and shoved his nose rather too close for comfort towards the poodle's busy bottom in a very unsubtle way. This proved too much for the owner, who started flapping his empty dog poo bag at Ted in what proved to be an entirely ineffectual attempt to shoo him away. 

Teddy (who is the friendliest dog in the entire world) clearly thought the whole thing was an enormous game and started leaping excitedly for the poo bag, yipping joyfully at full volume as only a Westie can, thereby drawing the attention of everyone on the hill. The poodle man shrieked as if Ted was trying to kill him and flapped the bag even more vigorously, which of course made the game even more fun.

I looked round for help and found M trying to dunk F's head in a sheep poo and therefore blissfully unaware of Ted torturing the poodle man.
In the end Ted got bored with the game and trotted nonchalantly back to us, apparently blissfully unaware of the mayhem he had left behind. The man gave me an anguished look. I smiled apologetically and collected my various Badly Behaved Thugs and hurried them off down the hill before they could get into any more trouble.

It will probably be a while before we go back to Danebury.

I hope your weekend is proceeding more peacefully.

CT :-)


  1. Even as a non-moth person I can appreciate the beauty of the Meurveille du Jour. I can see why you were throughly thrilled by its appearance!

    My Gran (who, like yours, is my Guardian Angel) had a poodle called Ringo. He could not, however, play the drums. His Auntie and Uncle, namely Dinkie and Fred, lived with my Mum's Nannie (as in Mary Poppins-type Nannie), and his sister, Penny, belonged to my mum. We were a very poodle orientated family back in the 60s!

    You sound very chipper! Tres bon!

    1. I have a feeling my granny had a poodle at one stage too. Ringo is a great name (even for a poodle....)

      I am chipper my dear, lovely day today :-)

      And how was your birthday, misses? Hope you are having a lovely time and remember to drink lots of birthday champers and eat plenty of cake xxx

    2. Birthday is on Saturday. Andy has just said he is planning on making me a cake, which means by midnight on Friday the entire kitchen will be covered in a thick layer of icing sugar and raw egg!

      Do you think poodles were a la mode in the 60s?

    3. I keep thinking it is Saturday because everyone is home. Last week I was only a day ahead, this week I've lost three days! Xx

  2. I so pleased your caught a Merveille du Jour it looks incredible, you must have been so excited. I found your trip up Danebury to be so funny will all the boys misbehaving!

    1. I'm still smiling about it Sarah :-) Completely beautiful, and if that moth can't dispel the myth that all moths are small and brown none can!

      My boys- you really can't take them anywhere. Even Teddy! Hope Daisy is well? x

  3. Well it looks like you all enjoyed your trip out and Teddy was just joining in the boisterous fun. Poor poodle man is obviously very sensitive. I'm delighted you got your brilliant moth at last-great images too for us all to enjoy.

    1. I was so thrilled to finally see it Suze. And poodle man really made me laugh 😂

  4. Marvellous - or indeed merveilleuse - news! I am still counting your exclamation marks but they are all merited. Lovely pics too.

    As for te human antics, we have two boys - men now and one of them to be a Dad next month - so I am familiar with such scenes and remember
    Them with mixed emotions as does Penny...

    All warm wishes,


    1. I was so pleased (massive understatement there) as you will appreciate :-). But don't you think it's interesting how we have been following that pattern of moths visiting your garden and then appearing in ours within a few days all summer long? The only ones I haven't had that you have are the Vestals and Ranunculus, and that may be because the box hasn't been out as regularly since the end of Sept as it was before.

      Congrats on approaching Small Person- is this your first Grandchild? How exciting! I shall call you Gramps from now on :-)

  5. What a beautiful moth! It does look like moth royalty and I'm glad you got to see one at last.
    The walk looks like huge fun!

    1. It is surely the most beautiful of moths with a well-merited name. They like oak and the pattern is lichen-like, so it's worth checking your local oak trees just in case.

      My boys - I despair!! :-)

  6. Well done on the Merveille du Jour - feeling very envious!! :) Some great photos too - haven't had my moth trap out for nearly 2 weeks - overnight rain and predicted winds that never arrived!!

    Loved the views from the hill fort and had to smile at your encounter with poodle man :)

    1. After exclaiming in overjoyed amazement when I saw it, the next thing I said (to M) was: "I really hope Caroline gets one now." So my fingers and toes are all crossed for you. It was a very friendly moth (apart from the playing dead bit, which is got over quickly) and when I put it out, turned round and tried to fly straight back into the house!

      Poor old poodle man- I hope we haven't scarred him for life :-)

  7. You lucky, lucky person (I felt like using a stronger word here but thought better of it), you do get some fantastic moths in your garden ! However seriously I am really happy for you and I don't blame you for taking so many pics of this outstandingly beautiful specimen :-)

    I enjoyed the Poodle man story lol :-)

    1. I know! I couldn't believe it! A memory I will always treasure :-)

      Teddy really has to learn that not every dog in the world wants to have a nose shoved up their bum at delicate/ private moments (although, to be fair it was Poodle Man rather than the Poodle itself who took umbrage). All good fun....

  8. Once again I have fallen behind on the blog reading front! SO pleased that the MDJ turned up!! Truly stunning moth and amazing photos - well done!!

    I enjoyed reading about your walks out and about! The Teddy and poodle story didn't half make me chuckle :) Bracken is not in our good books today - completely covered himself in disgusting smelling fox poo. He still stinks!

    1. I know - I couldn't believe it when I opened the box and saw it :-)

      Naughty Bracken- it really smells terrible fox poo so I commiserate.


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x