Captain Beaky

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Or, as I’m sure you know her, Rhingia campestris. That sounds rather better than the Common Snout-hoverfly, which is a horrible name, I think – though some sources also call this the Heineken hoverfly (I know not why). That long structure around her proboscis allows her to feed in tubular flowers such as bluebells and campion, that are too deep for shorter-tongued hoverflies; personally, it always puts me in mind of the Venetian Carnival plague doctor mask. Although as a species these flies tend to look dumpy, I would say that this female is gravid – in which case, she’ll be looking to lay her eggs on animal dung, because that’s what the larvae feed on. Sorry about that, but I don’t make the rules here.

Today R and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary – an occurrence almost as surprising to us as it probably is to those who knew us when we first got together. It hasn’t all been plain sailing, but even at our joint and several worst we’ve tended to find each other slightly less annoying than either of us finds almost everyone else on the planet, and at our best we’re a pretty good team. Somewhere along the way we also managed to make a pair of lovely babies, which was the most surprising thing of all – both of the Offspring definitely being greater than the sum of their parts.

Happy anniversary, Mr. O, and here’s to getting old and grumpy together. Grumpier….