Thursday, 7 April 2011

Lady Susan by Jane Austen

Has anyone else read this? I thought I'd read all her stuff, but I found this on one of the free ebook sites. It's short - could be read at on sitting - and really good.

I do love my kindle.

I've just started re-reading Robinson Crusoe, downloaded for free on my kindle. It was the first book I read that did not have pictures. I was only 8 at the time and I bought it from Boots for 7/6 - which was a lot of money for a little girl. One of the Oxford Classics series. They were wonderful books. Well made all hardback with a dust jacket. Why don't they make books like that any more?

Well I'm amazed at myself to think I read this at that age. I'm sure I couldn't have understood all the religious agonising he went through, but still a very good read.

Very dark Bombus terrestris queen

Yesterday I saw what I thought was the first Bombus lapidarius in my garden - I'd seen a couple of others at the edge of the wood, but non in the garden. Anyway she was bigger, or rather fatter than normal, so I went to have a look. She was huge! But her tail was not the usual red, but a dirty brown, and just the very tip. Then I had a better look. She was actually a Bombus terrestris queen. The yellow stripe on the thorax was completely missing, but this is not so unusual as it can be very faint in terrestris, or dirty and covered in dust and soil. But usually the abdominal yellow band is there even if it is a darker dirty yellow, but this one had none. What she did have as she moved into the sun was a sort of sheen of dark ginger/blackish hairs where the yellow abdominal band would be. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera so I couldn't photograph her. It wasn't pollen, or anything else because when she moved into the sun I could get a good look at the hairs with the sun shining through them, and she was clean.

Has anyone else seen this?

I've never seen such a dark terrestris in all the years I've been watching bumblebees. Perhaps she was just a mutant. She was large, and otherwise seemed perfectly normal feeding off an ornamental currant bush.