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dorinda mccann.

TWO or three times a year throughout my childhood we made the journey to the Rhondda valley.

I genuinely believed tyres could only do so many miles before they had to be changed because we never went on a long journey without my dad having a flat tyre.

It was part and parcel of the trip to see him pull to the side of the road, get out the jack and kneel at the side of the car while my mother and I sat looking out of the window as she passed comments on the passers by, I remember some of them to this day, "She shouldn't wear that neckline with those ears" or "those stripes are going the wrong way for a bottom that big" or "I'd never grow gladioli, they're a common sort of flower".

My dad would then get back in the car wiping his hands on an old rag and off we'd go again. The other thing I remember was the amount of bugs that used to hit the window and the number plate.

My beloved and I were talking about this on the way to Carmarthen recently as we noticed how few insects hit the window on the journey down.

It's not that I'm not a huge fan of bugs but I hate to see any type of creature disappearing. As it happens there was a very late maybug outside the legion last week - he kept heading for the open door and though they have a face only a mother could love I was glad that Mel - one of our members - was kind enough to take him away from the building before he got into the bar.

When I was a teenager in college I had to walk through a recreation ground every day which was full of wild flowers.

The ragwort's were always full of insects. Pairs of mating beetles and beautiful crimson and black burnet moths - something I haven't seen for many years. The whole area was full of butterflies and bees and caterpillars of the hairy kind known in my area as Sioni Flewog - another thing I haven't seen for a very long rime.

Little Christian asked me last week if he could go into the garden to look for bugs and as I followed him out it occurred to me that I can't remember the last time I saw a ladybird.

Since then I've taken a closer look around the garden to see what's in my little patch and to be honest there isn't much. There are a lot of woodlice, slugs and snails and I did find a gorgeous scarlet beetle merrily chomping its way through one of my lilies - but not a single ladybird to be seen.

My childhood was full of the hum and drone of insects on the wild flowers that grew in profusion in the hay fields and hedgerows.

Damsel and dragon flies skimmed over the water and caddis flies dragged their stony homes behind them in the mill stream.

But it's the bees that worry me more than anything - there doesn't seem to be half as many in my garden this year.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 26, 2010
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