A phosphorous blue sneer.

As the year draws to a close what more can a man do than stick his head in a pile of leaf litter and search for hoverfly larvae. That is what I did this morning and very enjoyable it was too. 2016 has not been the best of years. Last year I said to myself, cheer up. Things could be worse. So I cheered up and sure enough things got worse.

Next year looks to be tricky too. I shall embark on my 7th and probably last decade. Of course the world may end as well in which case I shan’t miss much. In the meantime leaf litter is my new raison d’être. I am finding all sorts of goodies in it. Today was my introduction to the gall of Neuroterus anthracinus . It is about the size of a pinhead, whitish with (pardon the technical lingo) red splodges on it. Yesterday I was knee deep in the eggs of a shield bug and photographing not one but two Melangyna cincta larvae. Of course you also find the odd slug, a few earthworms, some fly-type things and a host of other creatures that scuttle, wriggle and flee.

Christmas was tolerable this year. Borderline good in fact. We decided to eat out and booked ourselves into Brasserie Blanc. They did us proud. The hallmark of a decent Christmas lunch is the quality of the crackers. Not the cheese ones but the ones that go bang. Ours went very bang very loud. So loud in fact that the gift within flew like a North Korean test missile and landed on the neighbouring table. A set of gingerbread men cookie cutters. Just what Mrs. Ha wanted. And as I hadn’t bought her anything else that was just as well. She did in fact get an eternity ring but that was for our wedding anniversary. It’s called an eternity ring because it will take me an eternity to pay for it. When she said she wanted a carat I was all ready to hoof it over to Sainsbury but I misunderstood.

Our next outing of note is back to Honkers for the lunar New Year. We are away almost 3 weeks which means poor old Princess Lulu has to spend the time at Butlins and she won’t like that. She doesn’t take well to the Morning campers, Hi-di-hi routine. And they don’t have under floor heating. Come to think of it neither does our apartment in HK.

2017 starts in a few hours and it had better be good. I want my money back on 2016. From Brexit to Exit Bowie and ending with the demise of she who sang Tammy, it has been a disaster. I predict the implosion of the EU next year. That should cheer us all up. I looked out of the window at 4pm today and the mist was lying just above the ‘lawn’ (moss) in a thin stratum. It gradually thickened and expanded, not unlike my waistline. Too many gingerbread men. With age comes the wisdom that I really don’t know much. It also comes with a bad shoulder, a wobbly knee and greying hair. Sometimes I look in the mirror first thing and wonder who on earth it is. Only Lulu seems perennially content with life, as long as you don’t count the fact that she only uses 3 of her 4 legs these days. It doesn’t seem to bother her as long as she has ham, toast and jam and some health-giving biscuits for breakfast. This is a winning combination for canine flatulence I am sad to say. At least, that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

On that cheery (?) note I wish my reader a very happy new year. Unless you voted for Brexit or Trump. As my old boss John Pugh used to say: I’m not a vindictive man but, and this is a big but, I’ll ‘ave ‘im.

Goodnight all.