Almost home after a late night walk in the drizzle with my son – I found a beautiful, bronze-coloured Cockchafer crawling on the surface of the glistening, wet road. Because of its perilous position – I gently persuaded it aboard my hand for a quick ride to the sanctuary of my nearby garden. What a giggle!
As it slowly tickled its way up my hand towards the cave of my sleeve – I found myself laughing-out-loud much to the disapproval of my son – who told me to keep the noise down – “People will think you have been drinking!” – “Put it down!” He snapped. What he didn’t understand was – I couldn’t easily flick the Cockchafer off into the garden because they have barbed legs – so I just stood outside my house on a dismal May night and laughed – while my son grew evermore impatient for me to get the front-door key out my pocket with my freer hand. Too distracted by the Cockchafer – I couldn’t find the key – so he had a rummage in my pocket which just made me laugh louder! He did reluctantly agree to take one photo with his phone – before he disappeared inside his own sanctuary – away from his embarrassing ‘drunken’ mother.
His fuzzy photo will serve as a reminder of quite one of the most delightful – as well as side-splitting encounters with Nature – I have experienced. Because of insecticides – Cockchafers are sadly much rarer these days – but I can remember throughout the 60’s and 70’s – the golden era I grew up in – when ‘May Bugs’ were a familiar sight and sound in the countryside – and bedroom! This however, was the first lifetime opportunity that had presented itself for me to hold one…Held in the hand they are fascinating as well as super ticklish on bare skin! Its impressive pair of feathery, orange feelers instantly reminded me of Dennis Healey – a memorable Labour politician from the same bygone era.
Eventually ‘Dennis’ grew tired of tickling me half-to-death and decided to buzz-off into the sticky night air. What a lovely sight to see the Cockchafer slowly open its back – before spreading a fine set of golden wings. I just stood and watched in awe as it rotated upwards above me – like a small helicopter – and I fancied I could even feel a small downdraught blow over me as its whirring wings carried it away into the enveloping black; really quite magical.
Writing this the day after – as the rain pours down outside my window again – I’m reminded that it is the merry month of May!