First up: hoverflies. The latest copy of the Royal Horticultural Society magazine was stuffed in my letter box this morning (in fact I really should mention this to the postman; he also folds envelopes which say Do Not Bend). They generally have very lovely artistic images on their front cover and this month's is no exception.
Isn't that a fabulous photo? There must be some applique or embroidery or something in that somewhere.
And hoverflies are great. Not cutesy-fiable (like crickets (and have you seen Heather Ross's new logo by the way? very cute) and not alarmingly scary (like any spider over about half an inch wide), but... you know, I just can't explain it. A bit dozy, a bit curious... not sure at all but there's definitely something about them.
We had nearly a plague of them one summer when I lived in Suffolk, and it wasn't at all scary but it could get a bit oh-for-gawds-sake-get-out-of-my-face/tea/salad... I got to see them really close up, and while bees and wasps have a kind of solid look to them, hover flies always look so light that they could almost be hollow. Also, their larva eat ragwort, a plant which looks pretty enough growing in the countryside but is poisonous to livestock, so much so that the UK even has the Ragwort Control Act 2003. And that is definitely A Good Thing. And they are also stripey which I like, but can make other people kill them because they think they're wasps. Silly people.
If, on the highly odd chance, you want to find out more about hover flies, have a look at The Garden Safari (but there are plenty of other sites too), and if you get really keen you can join the Hoverfly Recording Scheme, but I won't hold it against you if you don't. After all, you thought you'd come here for a quick chat about sewing, didn't you?