Wednesday, May 12, 1982

Creature feature

It was another hot day. School was mundane (Conrad a bit better), and Peter gave me a lift home. Dad and I went to visit Hopegate Countryside Centre, but beforehand I had to endure another of his ratchety right-wing soundings off over the “unpatriotic” BBC. We set off in a slightly irritable mood, but this was soon forgotten as we drove in sun towards the brown shimmering bulk of Keddon Moor.

The Countryside Centre was full of crystal clear aquariums containing leeches, toad and frog tadpoles, newts, dragonfly nymphs, and diving beetles. It's run by a young fair-haired and earnest faced woman and her bearded husband and she was really enthusiastic. She pointed out the various features of the creatures in the tanks, obviously not expecting us to know much about them: the Queen in the bee case, a superb, large ponderous green and orange Oriental newt. She told us that the diving beetles require live tadpoles or bloodworms as food. Dad scrounged  a few Marsh frog tadpoles.

As we drove home I yearned to be off across wild desolate hills.

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