See – it’s not just me!

I can remember when I was very young that my mum used to swat moths! “They always make holes in the clothes in your wardrobe , if you let them get in there.” She would say.  So, poor things always got swatted, because that was what I had been taught. Until, of course, I became a rebellious teenager. Don’t panic you’re not going to get the pictures of my long hair and outrageous clothes.

I began to specialise in doing everything which was opposite to the customs of my parents. To cut a long story short and to avoid lengthy arguments about what that involved, I would say as far as moths were concerned, I developed a love for them.

Their shapes and colours fascinated me and I found it amazing that anything as small and beautiful as that could manage to exist.

Perhaps some of them might gnaw away at my woollen clothes, but the rest seemed far more interested in the electric lights in my bedroom and would gather on the window each night.

My parents managed to reconcile themselves to the fact that I was odd – firm in the knowledge that no one could be interested in moths as a hobby.

To my surprise and delight I find that there is at least one group of people, who meet once a week deep in a woodland in rural Norfolk in order to look at moth traps that have been set up the night before. Listening to their conversation it seems that most of them have moth collecting devices in their own gardens, but once a week they come together to unload these large traps and to compare notes.

They don’t seem to be phased by a wandering photographer who pops in to take pictures once or twice a year and who struggles even to name the most common species, but who, in secret, is a great admirer of even the most minute moths that appear.

Despite my dubious pedigree I am always delighted when one of the moths sits patiently on my arm, clearly unafraid before fully waking up and lifting off into the morning sunshine.

Bless you Mum – but I think they are quite grateful that I don’t swat them.