Tuesday 29 June 2010

In which I am ashamed of myself

Today whilst waiting at the traffic lights, I observed a blind person with a white stick walk into a lamppost on the other side of the road. They were doing all of the stick-tapping, side-to-side and so on, but somehow they missed it and walked straight into it, bouncing back in a mildly shocked manner. Can you guess my first reaction? That's right, I laughed out loud.

I've felt guilty ever since, but there you have it, it just came out, there was nothing I could do about it. It was a giggly kind of snigger, cruel and twisted. "Why were you laughing?" came Pudding's voice from the back of the car. What could I say? That I just seen some helpless person smack themselves in the face with a metal pole? I didn't say anything, but as I sat there berating myself for being such an arsehole, I wondered if many people would have had the same involuntary reaction, and whether this could be used as some kind of test of character?

Take the Milliband issue for instance. Two brothers, both professional politicians, both campaigning for the leadership of the Labour Party. One of them, I forget which, has been accused by the supporters of the other one of having no empathy, no ability to connect with the common man. I wondered if on live television the two of them could be shown a clip of a blind person walking helplessly into a lamppost, and seeing which one giggled? Then I wondered what the answer to the test was? If the supposed narcissistic one sniggered, would that prove that he was indeed utterly lacking in human feeling, or that he was in fact perfectly normal? This then led me to think that perhaps I was normal, and not a git, but I still feel vaguely guilty...

Birds? Er, yes actually. Whilst emptying the moth trap with Muffin this morning, a Ring-necked Parakeet flew North-east over the garden, only the third ever record.
Anyway, back to the moths, it was another good night with 69 moths of 36 species, of which I've so far identified 20 and am working on the rest. For those of you interested in which moths inhabit my garden, I've created a page with a list on it. Lists are great. You can have lists of almost anything, and this has the potential to be a really long one, and for me to get multiple ticks per day for ages and ages.

Being out in the garden late at night every night trying to catch moths that come near but don't enter the trap, I've learned some very interesting things. The first is that my small area of Wanstead is home to about 85,000 Foxes, all of whom mate constantly, with all the howling that that entails.

Second is that the bottom of my garden is Toad heaven. Every night when I go out to start trapping, three or four toads trundle away from the trap. They are clearly intelligent animals. I have been moth-trapping going on three weeks now, and they have already learned that the trap is an excellent source of easy protein. They just sit there eating flies, and probably moths too when I'm not looking. When I settle down and keep still, they all start creeping back to the box, hungry for more. I might try and photograph one tomorrow, they seem fairly unafraid if I'm careful.

Not a Toad

I also have Frogs, though I didn't know it. It rained this morning, quite heavily. All of a sudden the garden was full of frogs. We don't have a pond, neither to my knowledge do the near neighbours, so I don't know where exactly they came from, but as soon as it rained, there they were, hopping all over the lawn (lawn being used here in the dried-brown sense of the word). They seemed pretty unafraid too, only hopping into the cover of the flowerbeds (here used in the weed-strewn sense of the word) when you got very close. Pudding got too close, crowded one out, and it hopped head-first into a large flower pot.... I sniggered....

"Mmmm, I love moths too. By the way, what are your feelings on anthropomorphism"


  1. I would have laughed as well, but that probably shouldn´t make you feel any better.

  2. "Latterly quite a lot about SOCIOPATHIC TENDENCIES"?

    I snickered to myself just reading your description, so I cannot throw any stones.