Nov 11th – Bustling Beauties

November 11th – Bustling Beauties



Rain upon rain upon rain. It was not going well. 5 weeks into the expedition, and all Clara wanted was a break in the weather. The weather, it seemed, did not want to break.

Clara was an entomologist. She spent most of her time explaining to people what an entomologist was, and the rest of the time studying insects. Generally, this was not the most exciting of jobs, to people who didn’t share Clara’s passion, but for her it was everything.

Once a year she was sponsored by the Royal Society, along with her team, to undertake an expedition, in the name of science, to search for and chart new species. Which was why she was here, under a leaking tarpaulin, somewhere in the Amazon basin, looking for butterflies.

Butterflies don’t like the rain. Clara had found a lot of things that crept, and things that crawled, and things you didn’t really want to think about too much. She had burned leeches from her calves, and brushed spiders from her hair, on a daily basis, but nothing in the way of butterflied. Moths, yes, around the arc lights of the camp at night, dark wings beating silhouettes out of the night sky, but butterflies were in very short supply.

There were three weeks to go. The rain was incessant. Spirits, as spirits will be at times like these, were low. The water level was rising. Tomorrow, maybe. Tomorrow.

Clara woke to the sound of drips. Drips, not rain. The light coming through the tent was the first morning light there had been, and as the sun crept over the jungle canopy the steam of the damp earth made the morning clouds lighter than they had ever been. There was no grey anymore.

The steam dissolved. Clara, absentmindedly wondering if she’d packed her sunglasses, looked up, her hand across her brow against the glare. Pink and black, with a splash of yellow, danced in front of her eyes. Split tails. Distinctive marks.

A pair of bustling beauties. The first butterflies of the trip.

Inspired by here

Bustling Beauties – Dead Deer

Bustling Beauties

Two decades, two Dereks; Underwood and Pringle. A deadly spinner who bowled quite fast for a slow bowler the other a seamer who bowled quite slow for a medium-pacer.

Derek Underwood hailed from Bromley and played his career for Kent and England. He finished his career just three shy of three hundred Test wickets; when that really was quite the milestone. An exceptionally canny and wily operator he claimed he simply bowled line and length until the batsman made an error; as they all will eventually. In fact this was an extremely modest claim, his control was legendary, some even declaring that he wore a hole in the pitch because of the ball landing in the same spot delivery after delivery.

Derek Pringle played for Essex despite not being born in the county. He also played for England despite not being born in the country; he came into being in Nairobi in Kenya. It might be unkind to state that his method owed quite a bit to Underwood’s idea of simply waiting for a mistake. His test haul being the far more modest 70 wickets. Oddly enough for an alleged all-rounder he scored an average of only around 15 runs per innings in Tests; barely higher than his Kentish namesake.

Yet for me, having been a trifle too young to witness Underwood playing, it is the sight of Pringle bustling in that brings once more the bittersweet tang of nostalgia.

So now the check-list of similarities is complete; The forename: The batting: The unlikely medium-pace (one ought have been faster, the other slower): and finally their run-ups to the crease; both these two beauties fairly bustled in.


Today I wrote from 15:55 to 16:05 prompted by ideas here. My other writings here. All my prompted writing here, and my tweets here