Bees and Butterflies

A butterfly on amor-secalo (Bidens alba)

Yesterday was a public holiday here, so I went to see my friends in Franceses Alone, since my husband and son didn’t want to come. It was drizzling when I left, but the sun was shining by the time I got there. We had the usual wide-ranging conversation about how their house was getting on, how my writing was getting on, and whether your farts would freeze on Pluto. (Pluto has a lot of methane frost, and methane is the main ingredient in digestive gas.)

Then two more friends arrived, Farida and Jose. It’s the first time they’d been there, and they exclaimed over the view, and the peace and quiet, and how much work there was to do on the house. Now they understand why the girls chose a house so far from the main towns! Farida paints, and she admired Helen’s drawing. Then we stuffed ourselves with barbecued chicken and salad.

Over lunch the conversation turned to different interpretations of Islam (they think bin Laden and the Taliban are nuts, as do all the Muslims I’ve met) and then to different styles of headscarfs. Jose thinks they make women more attractive because it emphasises the face. Farida says that when she was a teenager, her aunt forbid her to cover up her mouth because it made her eyes too beautiful, which was a new point of view to me. And somehow Farida persuaded me into a headscarf. It was more comfortable than I expected.


Farida and Jose left, and I spent some time trying to photograph the butterflies. They wouldn’t settle to feed at all, which was frustrating, because they were more interested in making catapillars. I took 12 shots of this pair to get one half-way decent photo.

Then we went for a walk. I was told it would take about half an hour, but the girls reckoned without my camera. I took 140 photos, so the walk took well over an hour. Most of the photos were flowers and/or bees. this is my favourite.

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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