Tempus fugit. Oh dear – where do all the weeks go? Is it because there is still so much to do for 21st July and time wishes to scare the pants off me, or is it just that I am getting old? Perhaps, though, it is because I am enjoying myself!
However, much of my tardiness is due to technological difficulties in that my computer – quite simply – gave up the ghost. This, coupled with internet connection difficulties, has caused the non-existence of a blog for well over a week.
What has happened in the innermost recesses of the CFZ since I last wrote?
Jon, Oll, David and I went to Birmingham last Sunday to the annual British Tarantula Society show and we all had a really fun time. The CFZ menagerie has now had its ranks swollen by the arrival of two Peruvian fern stick insects (Oreophoetes peruana); three Peruvian black stick insects (Peruphasma schultei); two Atlas beetles (Chalcosoma atlas), found in southern Asia, especially Malaysia; two sun beetles (Pachnoda marginata), one cobalt blue tarantula (Haplopelma lividum) native to Myanmar and Thailand; a pair of Vietnamese praying mantids which are a newly discovered species; two orchid praying mantids (Hymenopus coronatus) found in Malaysia, another praying mantis, and er… oh wait a minute, that is it.
However, David also bought himself a pair of millipedes, and a pair of sun beetles, as well as a pair of cockroaches for a friend of his.
It was quite interesting packing up for the return journey, as we also bought four glass vivs to house some of these little creatures and the boot of the car was somewhat chocker. My main worry was that we would accidentally unlodge one (or more) of the lids to the many containers and have a jamboree of escaped creatures, and, although I like spiders, I didn’t fancy a tarantula crawling up my trouser leg while I was driving, even if he/she is only a baby.
The two Peruvian fern insects and the three Peruvian black stick insects have taken to Myrtle Cottage very well, and are happily chomping their merry way through the foliage provided for them (mind you it was fun trying to locate some privet for the latter as Jon, bless him, forgot to buy some while he was at the show).
The tarantula is conspicuous by its absence as it hides in the undergrowth, but all the mantids are munching their food contentedly, as are the sun beetles.
We had been told that the male Atlas beetle would leap straight into the procreation lark as soon as he laid eyes on his intended, but we were surprised by the speed in which he did so! As soon as they were put together he jumped to it without even a cursory look around the new abode, never mind a polite “hello dear”. She, however, seemed slightly bored by the whole thing and just continued to eat her chunk of banana. In fact, you could almost imagine her yawning with boredom as she totally ignored her ‘husband’ throughout the whole business. Hmmm is there a message there?
However, she does now seem to have disappeared underground – presumably to lay her eggs - so we will have to wait and see what results. He, however, seems to have totally lost interest now and has taken over the banana duties. Hmmm another message?
Whilst at the show, we made some contacts with regard to the new magazine Exotic Pets and it would definitely seem that this publication has attracted a lot of attention. Jon is busy building a website for it as I am writing this, so keep an eye open for it.
Here at the CFZ it is quite normal for an odd or silly catchphrase to be adopted with lightning speed upon first hearing it, or for lines from an avant-garde film to be often referred to, to the accompaniment of schoolboy giggles and sniggers. I have also often walked in on the end of a conversation to hear the odd weird snippet, but here is a line that you definitely do not hear very often from someone talking on the telephone, whilst sitting at their computer: “I am putting away my lampreys as we speak”. What on earth did that mean?
Oh, yes, and Jon and I have been proofing my book – mainly at the end of the day, whilst tucked up in bed with my laptop. We are about half way through now so it hopefully will not be too long before it is finished and ready to go. I started writing it way back in 2000, doing a bit here and there, but made a huge effort on it last year. I hope one day someone will enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
See you soon.