Butterfly

Flutter on the windowpane,
You seek the sun, but all in vain.
Did you need a place to hide,
Is that why you came inside?

Window fixed and just ajar.
Locked, it will not open far.
Careful hands ‘round you, I cup.
Gently, gently lift you up.

As I left the house I saw,
In the sun near my front door.
Dancing wings brushed by my cheek,
Then off, to nectar’s blossom seek.

Oh. No. An Acorn!

An Acorn lying on the ground

What are you doing here on the ground?
You should be up in your leafy bower.
Were you told to get out and go somewhere else,
For taking too long in the shower?

Don’t talk to me about autumn and such,
It’s too soon to discuss that yet.
Get back in your tree and don’t come down,
’til summer’s been back to pay off its debt.

Back-end

Sheep

When thistledown clouds the air,
Autumn won’t have long to wait.
Dandelions have lost their hair,
Left with a stem and a bald pate.
When at last September’s here,
You’ll know this is back-end o’ year.

Days get short and nights close in,
The sun no longer climbs so high.
Flocks of rooks make such a din.
Bracken leaves turn gold and die.
Then you’ll know September’s here,
And now this is back-end o’ year.

A Rare Sunny Day

The Lake District Hills enjoying the sunshine.
The Hills enjoying the sunshine

Hello Hills. Not seen you ’round for a gloomy while.
Had rain on rain with dark grey skies in a tumbled pile.
And clouds so low, I’m sure they dragged the bottom of their skirt.
Right across our soggy field in all the muck and dirt.

Through sodden air, we couldn’t see the far side of the beck.
Just raindrops driving, slanting down when I looked out to check.
Yet, there you are, back in your place, now the rain is done
Looking fresh and newly washed, stretched lazily in the sun.

Tea Break

Cows – Chewing the cud.

Our job is really simple,
We’re here to eat the grass
We do it just by instinct,
We never took a class.

From morn ’til night we wander,
With ne’re a chance to rest.
Munching, first from north to south,
And then from east to west.

But here on England’s pastures,
No liberties we take.
At ‘leven o’clock, precisely,
We stop for our Tea Break.

Yellow Loosestrife

Yellow Loosestrife

Yellow Loosestrife standing there,
Do your best to show you care.
Mid unkempt grasses make a space,
And stand up tall to mark your place.

Spikes of yellow presentation,
In late summer devastation.
All else is lost, but you remain,
Until the gardener comes again.

Harebells

Harebell standing mid the grasses,
Beautiful but frail you seem.
Dance as every zephyr passes,
Stillness just a longed-for dream.

Dance and twirl as lightest breezes,
Tickle you and make you laugh.
I wait until your motion freezes,
To try to take a photograph.

Yarrow, Milfoil, Woundwort

Yarrow, Milfoil, Woundwort

Yarrow or Milfoil. Known to all since ancient times.
A plant of magic power but easy to overlook.
As an oracle often used in Eastern climes.
Confucius took, from your stalks, the laws in his book

Woundwort, a healing balm when fights with sword and shield
Leave men bruised and battle-scarred from glory’s affray.
Achilles did heal his host on Troy’s battlefield
With your leaf and stalk kept crushing defeat at bay.

Seeds

Hogweed Seed Head

The summer brings the fullness to all of your ambition.
Your seeds are ripe, a time for rest, your work complete.
You strove with all at your command, you asked for no condition.
Tomorrow’s seeds you leave behind for time’s defeat.

We mortals too, will give our all and ask but naught of Fate.
But grow within our chosen earth which, with our deeds,
We enrich the compost that our experience will create.
So, when our time is done, we too will leave sewn seeds.

Speedwell, Speedwilt

Speedwell or Speedwilt

Bright blue Speedwell, what can I believe,
What do such vibrant petals hope to achieve?
Shall I sew them in my coat’s hem?
May I journey safe with them?

Bright blue Speedwilt, what can I believe,
What? Do such vibrant petals hope to deceive?
Do men’s promises fade so fast?
Are there none whom you outlast?

Folk’s Gloves

Foxglove

Fox Gloves, Folk’s Gloves, fairy fingers dress.
Woodland Folk, they have their ways that we can only guess.
Best not to talk too loud around their fairy rings.
Look away, don’t mention them and speak of other things.

Ash tree, Oak tree, Rowan – Devil’s bane.
Ash tree roots go down to hell. Oak tree, heal my pain.
Branch of the Rowan, keep our threshold clear.
Bad luck and grief and woe may not enter here.

In Our Bubble

Tea and Cake

The local bubble assembled.
Aware of the risks they could take.
None hesitated, none trembled.
Ventured all for the Tea and the Cake.

The meeting was called to order.
To check attendees were awake.
Dragged back from dreamland’s border,
Meditating on Tea and on Cake.

The motion proposed was profound,
And dealt with the issues at stake,
With arguments perfectly sound,
“It’s time now for Tea and for Cake.”

Solstice

Hawkbit

Brave little sun, do longer days
Fill your heart with joy?
To gather up the sunshine’s rays
Your blooms, you do deploy.

The world, its path and its incline,
Summer days stretch out.
You care not how planets align
Or how they swirl about.

You only care that warmth and light
Give all that you need.
A gentle rain, the bees in flight.
To grow, to flower, to seed.

Wild Rose

Wild Rose in the hedge
Wild Rose in the Hedge

Amongst the wild entrammelled hedge,
To show your blooms the sun you pledge.
So petal-soft and fragrance mild,
None would believe a wasteland child

Yet under all soft grace and style,
Unseen amongst green leafy guile.
Those whose fingers tempt The Norns,
Will find a stem of sharpest thorns.

 

Fitting

Bumble Bee In Foxglove
Bumble Bee In Foxglove

Well, Darling?
Either the purple or the white?
I do so want to get this right.
And find the one that’s really me,
The one that suits me to a tee!

So, Darling.
Tell me which you think is best
Until I’m sure I just can’t rest.
The purple now, I’m sure is wrong,
The jacket sleeves are far too long.

Please, Darling.
That leaves me now with just the white.
But, does it really fit me quite?
Come now ignorance is not bliss.
Does my bum look big in this?

Riddle-me-ree

Riddle-me-ree

My first is in stalk and also in stem.
My second is me, not you, him or them.
My third is in toil but never in work.
My fourth is in thrive but never in shirk.
My fifth is in eels but just not in fish.
My sixth is in rhubarb, a succulent dish.
My seventh’s in wanting but never in need.
My eighth and my ninth are common in deed.
My tenth is in dirt and also in dust.
Follow this rhyme, then guess it you must.
Just look at the picture, the leaves are the clue,
I’ve made it as simple as I can for you.

Rhododendron

rhododendrons-2020-05-22-3648x2736-1

Blossoms cascaded,
Downhill unaided,
Falling ballistic,
Pallette artistic.

Nature emergent,
Joyous and urgent,
Overflow spilling,
Vibrant and willing.

Ocean wave crashing,
On the rocks dashing,
Richly chromatic,
Passion dramatic.

Greater Celandine or Swallowort

Greater Celandine or Swallowort
Greater Celandine or Swallowort

Swallows return to build a nest,
From far off lands to take their rest.
To feast on summer’s bounteous fare,
And show their mastery of the air.

From stream and pool, small beaks are filled,
Under the eves their nest to build.
Then line with down this fortress grey,
A home wherein their eggs to lay.

And see the Greater Celandine,
Whose yellow blooms like small suns shine.
‘Twill blossom so until the day,
Once more our swallows go away.

Spring in Full Swing

The Trees In the Wood
The Trees In the Wood

When winter’s frosty footsteps roamed our wood.
Through filigreed naked trunks we could
See how our hill arose against the sky,
Its undergrowth grey seared and dry.

But Spring’s verdure has coloured in the gaps.
What was overt, for modesty perhaps,
Has, over all, a mantle green been thrown,
To hide inside nature unknown.

A Seat in the Sun

Hawthorn Blossom-in-Waiting
Hawthorn Blossom-in-Waiting

The Blackbird flutes mid leafy tree,
To keep his anonymity.
While we below will not guess wrong
But know him by his joyous song.

On dry Oak twig, new leaflets burst.
Their flint spear sheath, the breeze disbursed
And catkin flowers their pollen cast
Adrift, in seas of air so vast.

Green Hawthorn’s boughs where sunlight gleams,
Tight wrapped as fists your blossom dreams.
Against the day when April’s shower,
Brings, in profusion, your Mayflower.

Bluebells

New Bluebells
New Bluebells

The daffodils are weary now.
They’ve nodded their heads off for Spring.
Their bonnets will be packed away,
‘Cause yellow’s not the latest thing.

Now under bush and under leaf,
Some nascent shoots start to appear.
Their folded blooms show hints of blue,
Surmounting each short sea green spear.

A little sun, a little rain,
A little time must pass as well.
Their blossoms swell and then unfold,
Displaying fresh, a bright bluebell.

The Strangest Times

Blackthorn
Blackthorn

When Blackthorn’s white and Hawthorne’s green
Together in the hedge are seen,
And Old Sol to his zenith climbs,
We live now in the strangest times.

When snowdrops from the snow have fled.
When blackbird rakes leaves for his bed.
When Spring the yearly quarter chimes,
We live now in the strangest times.

When crows call as they wing their way.
When rooks wheel ‘round as so they may.
When words align in metered rhymes,
We live now in the strangest times.

Hope

Gorse
Gorse

Sometimes we look at swirling mist.
No path, no signpost, can exist.
When aimless wandering seems our lot.
What once was sure is now forgot.

The way ahead, a hopeless task,
There are no questions left to ask.
No answers seem to bring relief,
No faith, no comfort, no belief.

But hope will not be so mislaid,
To outstretched hand, it will give aid.
When lost in life’s kaleidoscope,
Stretch out, reach out, there’s always hope

Winter Winds

Daffodils In The Woods
Daffodils In The Woods

Blow harsh winds and howl your worst,
The oaks sleep, uncaring.
Leafless twigs will wait for spring,
‘Til their leaves they’re bearing.

Down below the noise and haste,
Nature is arousing.
Daffodils in gold and green,
Are waking from their drowsing.

Send below a vagrant breeze.
Set old brown leaves prancing,
Ivy leaves a-shiver and
Daffodils to dancing.

The Mystery of the Disappearing Brownie

EmptyPlateAndCoffee
EmptyPlateAndCoffee

Oh, chocolate brownie, where have you gone?
There was one on the plate, now there’s none.
Did you crumble away like a mountain range,
Gradually succumbing to geological change?

Where you kidnapped by little green men
And whisked back in time to who knows when?
If they found you, would dinosaurs know what to do,
Could it be a pterodactyl has eaten you?

Is your disappearance part of life’s rich mosaic,
Or is the answer so much more prosaic?
Is the empty plate not a mystery but really a clue,
Is the denouement just that I’ve eaten you?

Through the Window in Winter

Daffodils
Daffodils

You stand there. The cold rain dripping down.
Your flower buds wait their right time.
Those blooms now open, each a cold wet crown,
Weep sadly in a voiceless mime.

I stand here. The rain drips down outside.
Your flowers bow and seem to cry.
The wind blows cold, yet there you must abide.
Here, inside, warm and dry am I.

I’ve been Ill …

I’ve been in bed with the doctor and the antibiotics. It’s been a tight squeeze.
I’ve not slept, not eaten. Don’t want to. No interest.
And the weird dreams! Lucky I can’t remember most of them.
The one that scared me half to death, was the one where I was in a party of slavers, making our way down through Africa from the lakes to our dhow, waiting to ship the slaves to the markets in Stone Town on Zanzibar. The slaves had been told by their chief that they would be shipped off to the Sultan of Oman’s palace, and live out their lives in luxury – so they didn’t give any trouble.
We’d also picked up a nice couple of tusks and some slabs of fresh elephant meat as part of the deal. That was the trouble.
We were moving as quietly as we could through that pitch dark African night to avoid ambushes and attacks by other slavers. Human eyes are amazing – but they must have some light!
Then it started. ‘Cough.’ ‘Cough.’
You don’t live in Africa long without learning the sound of a lion. This one sounded an old male hunting alone – probably a man-eater. Couldn’t light torches without giving our position away – and you don’t stop a charging lion in the dark with a musket ball!
All those weary miles through that still deep rich darkness ‘Cough’ now to this side now to that!
My nerves were shattered by the time we caught sight of the welcoming fire our mates had built on the beach.

Ivy

Ivy Berries
Ivy Berries

For some the first flowers of the year promise that Spring will come.
But woodland wild folk watch the world dance to a different drum.
For them, Spring flowers do naught but tell of Autumn fare unknown,
They care not how their future bread by nature’s hand is sown.

The leaves of Spring soft fed by rain find wild folk’s larder bare.
Yet hedgerow folk know Spring’s prudence is tempered yet with care.
For ivy will her berries show with bright green leaves displayed,
To ripen as the Spring moves on upon her branch arrayed.

Snowdrops

This Years First Snowdrops
This Years First Snowdrops

Snowdrops peek through at Winter’s end,
With Nature’s seasons gently blend.
At year’s beginning know your place,
To march to Time’s insistent pace.

While I, like Janus, see both ways.
So, ponder how to fill my days.
By pathways misty hand I’m led,
Between the snowdrops in my head.

Yet Time waits not for plant or man,
And each must bloom the best he can.
Choose, then, a path with pressured haste,
For time is Time’s, not ours to waste.

The Crocalog: Tales from Hawkey Beck

The Crocalog Tales
The Crocalog

.
The crocalog lay in his bower
And cared not for the day or hour.
Since he had no shame to hide
He rolled right over on his side.

And lying thus he well could hear
The stories whispered in his ear.
The babbling beck had tales to tell
Of maidens fair and ogres fell.

The tale of Princess Jaune he heard,
(Eagerly drank in every word)
Imprisoned in a castle strong
And punished though she did no wrong.

*/_______________________________________/*

The Crocalog Tales: Castle Toadstool
Castle Toadstool

A wicked ogre passing by,
Strong Castle Toadstool caught his eye.
Now, ogres are quite insecure,
For this, there really is no cure

Brave castles lit by sunlight’s gleam
Stab right at their self-esteem.
Just to give the folk a fright
He cursed the castle – out of spite.

The curse bound all in slumber deep.
But Princess Jaune was fast asleep,
She didn’t hear the words he spoke
So she, alone uncursed, awoke.

*/_______________________________________/*

Meadow Vetchling
Princess Jaune

No one came to help her dress,
The reason why she could not guess.
No maid her presence came to beg
To breakfast on a scrambled egg.

She stamped her foot with discontent
And, in her nightdress, out she went.
Into every room to peep
And found her servants fast asleep.

So then, the King and Queen she sought
Of this sad state to make report,
But found, to her distress and fear,
Both bound in sleep, her parents dear.

*/_______________________________________/*

Thorns
Thorns

First, she put on her dressing-gown.
Climbed the tower, looked out and down.
Bright swords, sharp spikes, was all she saw
Closed every window, every door.

She thought of brave Sir Furze, her knight,
Who wandered far to try to fight
A dragon for his gold and land
And with these riches win her hand.

Where was he when she needed him?
Her situation now was grim.
No clothes, no food, since who knows when,
She threw a tantrum there and then

*/_______________________________________/*

Blackberries
Blackberries

The emptiness inside her grew
So to the kitchen, down she flew.
Boxes, bags there by the score
She emptied them out on the floor

Nothing could she see to eat
In all the food around her feet.
At last, she spied a crust of bread
And hurried, with it, back to bed.

The covers pulled around her ears
She sobbed, wrapped up in all her fears.
‘Alas!’ she cried, her shoulders shook,
‘I’ll starve before I learn to cook!’

*/_______________________________________/*

Wild Rose
Wild Rose

Brave Sir Furze had wandered far
Seeking lands where dragons are,
And while he sought for knightly action
He found, instead, a fair distraction.

Many a maid his talents sought
With scented notelets, phrases fraught.
Begging for a knight as he
To rescue her from sad ennui

Miss Bramble dressed in frilly white
Sought his attention to her plight
And Lady Rose of Briar Park
Declared her future grim and dark.

*/_______________________________________/*

Dressed for the ball - Bluebells
Dressed for the ball – Bluebells

Now rescuing maidens in distress,
Locked hard away under duress,
In dragon danger, peril sore,
Is, indeed, what Knights are for.

But maidens waiting for the chance
To be invited to a dance,
Not chained in rags in towers tall
But finely dressed as for a ball.

While needing less a knight’s strong arm
Still need, no doubt, his Knightly charm.
To rescue seek from boredom’s pit
Is surely stretching things a bit.

*/_______________________________________/*

Ragged Robin
Ragged Robin

But brave Sir Furze, he did his best
To rise to this, his manhood’s test,
And though he could not save them all,
He rescued several at each ball.

These maidens fair with music sweet,
Each one he would dance off her feet,
While the musicians took a break,
Rich food and wine they would partake.

Few thoughts he gave to his princess.
He doesn’t know she’s in a mess.
Unwashed and hungry, I’m afraid,
And calling on his Knightly aid.

*/_______________________________________/*

The Vacant Vale
The Vacant Vale

Each day she’d climb the castle tower
And at the empty landscape glower.
No knight in shining armour rode
Just vacant vale where the beck flowed.

‘Am I a maiden in distress?
In case of doubt let me confess.
It’s plain for anyone to see,
I need my Knight to rescue me.’

Disappointment filled her heart
And soon she felt the teardrops start.
A robin, sad to hear her wrongs,
Then joined in with his doleful songs.

*/_______________________________________/*

Doleful Robin
Doleful Robin

‘Oh, Robin, try with all your might,
Fly near and far and find my knight,
Tell him of my situation,
Waiting here for my salvation.’

The Robin cocked his head askew,
Thinking what he ought to do.
Before things could get any worse,
He sang again his mournful verse.

Then, off he flew into the sky,
All he could do would be to try
To seek her knight, as she did ask.
Indeed, it seemed a hopeless task.

*/_______________________________________/*

Swan with Reflection
Swan with Reflection

Down from the tower, just by chance
In a large mirror stole a glance
Dishevelled and unkempt was she
She was no sight for knights to see.

Straightway to shower and wash her hair
(It was days since she’d been there!)
With the caress of water warm
Good thoughts came buzzing in a swarm.

‘I must desist this futile mope.
I’ll cook a meal – I’m sure I’ll cope.
I’ll leave things out wherein I lack it,
And follow just what’s on the packet.’

*/_______________________________________/*

May Blossom - Covering the Hedges, Like Washing Spread Out to Dry
May Blossom – Covering the Hedges, Like Washing Spread Out to Dry

‘I need clean clothes, I’ll take a look,
Try to find an instruction book.
These grave issues I must address.
Am I not a royal princess?’

‘It’s time I took myself in hand.
My Knight is in a far-off land.
I know that he on me depends
While he, with dragons fierce, contends’

‘Oh Robin true, fly far and wide
Take my sad tale, sing at his side.
Tell how, for him, I greatly yearn,
To rescue me on his return.’

*/_______________________________________/*

Robin in a Gorse Bush
Robin in a Gorse Bush

Dancing all night, idle by day
Sir Furze in scented bower lay.
He mused upon his dissipation
In the current situation

A robin did a sad song make,
It did not help with his headache,
‘Yes, of my conduct I’m not proud,
But Robin, please, don’t sing so loud!’

‘My Princess has great hopes of me,
How disappointed she would be
That my commitment is so weak.
I will, today, a dragon seek.’

*/_______________________________________/*

Far Off Mountains
Far-Off Mountains

Straightway, Sir Furze, he took to horse
Towards the mountains set his course.
‘Twas there, the thought was in his mind,
He surely would a dragon find.

Then, what a battle there would be
He would display his bravery
The fight of fights, unto the death,
Against the flaming dragon’s breath!

The clash of steel – of sword and shield
With valour both, he’d surely wield.
In his mind’s eye, he plain could see,
Himself, stood there, in victory.

*/_______________________________________/*

Blackbird - keeping a look out
Blackbird – keeping a lookout

The Princess grew more confident
Her meals turned out just how she meant
The clothes with which she daily dressed
Hung in her closet neatly pressed

Still, each day up the tower climbed she
Hoping for her Knight to see
Here at this high elevation
Welcome him with pure elation

But when she felt the teardrops start
These days, grave doubts tugged at her heart
Fearing, perhaps upon a whim,
The dragon had, sadly, slain him.

*/_______________________________________/*

Mushrooms - A Tumbled Inn
Mushrooms – A Tumbled Inn

Sir Furze rode on and, once or twice,
He stopped to ask for some advice,
‘Are dragons found in hereabouts?’
But each he asked expressed their doubts.

Deeper he rode far in the hills
The sun obscured by cloudy chills
Through rain and sleet and thunder’s roar
At last, a tumbled inn he saw.

He asked, ‘Are dragons to be found,
Here where the mountains do abound?’
‘The Ancient Sage would surely know,
He’d kindly tell you where to go!’

*/_______________________________________/*

Fireplace With Fire
Fireplace With Fire

‘First, shelter for me and my horse
I’ll seek this hermit in due course.
A stable where Horse can retire
For me a seat near to the fire.’

The patron showed him to a chair,
‘Please sit, Sir Knight, and if you care,
In our fire’s warmth to freely speak
Of where you came, and what you seek.’

‘I seek to win me gold and land
To beg My Princess for her hand.
To fight a dragon seems to be
The way, as far as I can see.’

*/_______________________________________/*

Horse
Horse

‘Our Ancient Sage is wise and kind.
Politely ask what’s on your mind
He, for no charge, will answer you
Explaining what you need to do.’

‘The way is hard, the mountains high
Your horse can’t climb where eagles fly
Sword, shield and lance will hamper you
And leave behind your armour too.’

Sir Furze he went to bed unsure
These words struck at his very core
No horse, no sword, could this be right?
How would folk know he was a knight?

*/_______________________________________/*

Rocks
Rocks

Sir Furze climbed on, the way was hard
Used hands and feet to gain each yard
‘Advice they gave I will endorse
This is no path for man and horse.’

At last a cavern he espied
The Ancient Sage should be inside
‘Art thou within, oh Ancient Sage?
I would, a while, with thee engage.’

A flame broke through the stygian gloom
Its flickering light lit up the room
‘Ah, welcome friend,’ rumbled a voice,
‘Come, sit or stand as is your choice.’

*/_______________________________________/*

Fireweed
Fireweed

Sir Furze advanced into the grot
Unsure if he should sit or not.
To stand to him did seem most wise
For quick escape, should need arise

‘A dragon for his gold and land
I need to slay, you understand
This, the matter I must address
To gain the hand of my princess.’

A chuckle from the darkness came
And lit the cavern with a flame
‘See now Sir Knight just why you joke
I am the last of The Dragon-folk.’

*/_______________________________________/*

Robin in the cave
Robin in the cave

‘This cave – my lands, I have no gold.
Wisdom I have; I’m very old.
In life there are diverse paths but,
Which ‘er you choose, there’s no shortcut.’

‘But wait! Who’s this. Come brother bird.
It’s time your story should be heard!’
The Robin sang his sad song and
Sir Furze found he could understand.

‘Well, Sir Knight, you need not guess,
Your duty is to your princess.
Take sword and steel, and to her pledge
Your love against The Ogre’s hedge!’

*/_______________________________________/*

No Gold or Lands
No Gold or Lands

Down to the inn, sword shield and horse
To save his princess by brute force
The weary miles must galop by
None bar his way. On he needs fly!

The dragon’s words ring in his mind
No gold or lands are there to find
Which all these years he sought in vain
A waste of time it now is plain

To his princess, he must return
Make plain she is his main concern
The Ogres hedge he must attack
Drive the curse, whence it came, back.

*/_____________________________________/*

The Ogre's Hedge - Gorse
The Ogre’s Hedge – Gorse

Upon the tower our princess stands
Looks out expecting barren lands
But see! Her hopes are now fulfilled
Her knight returns, he’s not been killed.

‘Princess,’ he cries, and draws his sword
‘A path I’ll hew both straight and broad
Through bushes dense I’ll drive a wedge
And free you from The Ogre’s hedge.’

He hacks away with all his might
But finds his plan does not go right.
For as he chops so the hedge grows
And soon it will behind him close.

*/___________________________________/*

Down from her tower the princess flies
To force the castle door she tries
Opens a crack through which to squeeze
But thorns and spikes are all she sees

From sleeping guard she wrests a blade
Carves her way through the gap she’s made
Towards her knight stretches her hand
He reaches out, their hands clasp, and …

An Ogre’s curse is made from hate
So love’s true touch does it abate.
The castle woke to a sweet sight,
Their princess brave, kissing her knight.

The End

Ringlet

Ringlet Butterfly
Ringlet Butterfly

Today we have the Ringlet Butterfly. As you can see, there is nothing very remarkable about it. It’s just a butterfly.

It prefers the cool damp days to bright sunny ones and so is out and about when its other more gaudy associates are sheltering from the inclemency.

Many cartoon heroes and even the main dramatis personae in our espionage fiction are usually remarkable people. The truth of the matter is that these larger-than-life characters are truly fictional and in the real world spies are valued for their ordinariness, their ability to blend in and disappear into the wallpaper – to be invisible in plain sight. The Ringlet performs this sleight of hand with ease. They are one of our most common butterflies but barely get a mention. When the subject arises their more colourful cousins, the Red Admirals, the Painted Ladies, the Peacocks, the Fritillaries, claim the limelight.

Are our, so ordinary, Ringlet butterflies leading a secret life, we wonder? Are they taught Morse Code in their cradles? Do they emerge from the chrysalis as fully competent agents provocateur? Is their love of dull damp days a cover for their clandestine operations?

And if so, whose side are they on?