I drew that bat picture ages ago. It was a present for a friend. Wonder if he still has it?Must draw another one someday.

Before anything else I’m going to mention the gig at the Lexington this coming Sunday, 2nd September, where Rude Mechanicals will be performing along with David Cronenberg’s Wife and Venetian Blonde. Should be a good night. The Lexington is just a short walk up the hill from Kings Cross, or a roll down the hill from Angel (London). Starts at 8. I have spent the last week preparing delinquencies for you at this event, monsters of all seven worlds, music for dancing and cavorting, exquisite mysteries and rare spices. Well maybe not the spices, though if you’d like some hair from the legs of a satyr I have some on offer.

If you are reading this from the other side of the world I suppose it is rather unlikely that you’ll make it to the gig. Instead dream of rare, bizarre, and beautiful thing on Sunday night.

So that’s that off my chest. Back to the bats. The Library of Obscure Wonders held its full Moon event last weekend and it was a bat walk. It wasn’t quite on the full moon because on that day it was pouring down, so we went the next day, but the moon was still looking full to me.

Unfortunately I had a bad seizure that day and was feeling really grotty. Had to cancel badge making with Vyyy earlier in the day but was determined to make the bats. One cannot cancel a bat walk in a cemetery at full moon!

I arranged to turn up later than the others. Mat very kindly escorted me there taking care of the bat detectors I’d borrowed from Olly (the bat expert). Cos had told everyone I wasn’t feeling very well. When I got there Vyvy and Nathan seemed to be organising things, which was great. They had a sheet describing the different types of bat we were likely to see there. We were to go to the centre of the cemetery at 8pm, where there is a clear view of the sky. It is then that the bats come out. So we took off into the woods.

I was feeling very fragile and strange. It felt like I was floating through and the wood was very magical. The trees were talking to me and there were lots of elf-like creatures between the trees. This was a very pleasant hallucination that made me happy, I do like the hallucinations I get in woods, they tend to have an intense but homely feeling about them, but also too fragile to maintain, such things often result in a bad headache or further seizures. I thought “I need a drink”.

Alcohol is an interesting thing with my condition, too much of it will bring on a cluster of seizures the following day, but one or two drinks when I’m feeing strange like this will bring me back down to the ground. And so it did.

We set our picnic up in a quiet clear spot between woodstump seats. There was a lot of food and drink. There were eight of us there which I think is a good number for something like this. Mat had brought a flask of Jack Daniels and Lemonade which I sipped from slowly whilst he flirted with Sharen.

The bats came out as predicted. Tiny little things. Our bat detecting machines played beautiful high pitched noises as the winged creatures full above our heads against the night sky, and because my brain wasn’t 100% back to normal yet the bats were talking to me in Cockney rhyming slang. I didn’t mention this to anyone else.

So that was our trip to visit the bats in Tower Hamlets Cemetry. I think if the weather looks like it might be good next full moon we might hold another bat walk, maybe in Hampstead Heath, I’m told they fly over the lakes there catching insects.

In the meantime there is much strutting and cavorting to be done at the gig this Sunday. Come.

All in all it’s a good life really, because dung beetles exist

Some folk thought my last blog was rather miserable – though I thought, the conversation with the stones was very cheering – so am going to attempt something happier, for life is good really.

Having said that I’m about to start with something that will appear damn miserable, but hold on there, it will seem better soon.

My epileptic seizures have got to such a point that it is becoming difficult to do my job as a botanical teacher. The good side of this is that it is forcing me to take my freelance work more seriously. I’ve always really wanted to be an illustrator working from home and now life, probably fed up with my lack self believe, is forcing me into a corner where I have to do it.

I have a couple of commissions to start with, an animation commission about genomes and pea plants, and a t-shirt commission for a trans-sexual mermaid, which I like the idea of.

Just got to finish a mural I started last year of two large trees. David, who asked me to do it, feeds me well, so can’t complain at that. When I was at his earlier this week I kept hallucinating insects. I do this a lot anyway, but this was interesting as it seemed to fit with the tree paintings, all the shadows in his flat kept turning into insects. It was very like a dark fairy tale and at some point I must attempt to sketch it down.

Insects are great. A lot of them bother me, of course, like the fruit flies in my kitchen or the bluebottles hovering round the lounge light. However this doesn’t mean I want them all dead and when I think of the benefits insects have to us. The whole plant pollination thing is amazing, like a beautiful love affair between flower and bugs that is largely ignored in botanical illustration even though it is a symbiotic and essential relationship. A lot of our food just doesn’t happen without it.

Then there is the stag beetle, the cockroach and the dung beetle. These are great at recycling waste, allowing for the cycle of life to continue. The Egyptians saw the scarab beetle as a god rolling the sun round the earth, a symbol of rebirth and regeneration, and I can see their point there. Dung beetles are fascinating. There are many species and the love life of one type of dung beetle is most intriguing for there is a female dung beetle, a male dung beetle and a trans-gender dung beetle.

First of all the female dung beetle picks herself a big strong male with large horns to build her nest with, under a pile of dung. Then, once the nest is built and whilst the male is out defending his territory, battling against other males, the transgender dung beetle pays a visit to the nest. Now this dung beetle looks like a female but it’s sexual organs are male. The female dung beetle takes a shine to this new female looking friend and whilst the male is outside defending the nest with his life, the two female looking dung beetle make beautiful love inside the nest. Turns out that the smaller effeminate males has far bigger testicles than the stronger battling male, so his chance of fathering the offspring of the female are greater.

I told this story to a friend of mine the other day and he posed the question of how the offspring of the female and transexual dung beetle look. Does it become obvious what the female has been up to?

This I don’t know, and the divorce rate in dung beetles has not yet been monitored, but one thing I’m very pleased about is that they exist.

Now must get on with that animation.