Slowly slowly catchee insect

It is a truth universally acknowledged that insects in South Africa are well-behaved, quiet and polite enough to pause and have their photo taken numerous times before going about their business.

Some of my blogpals in SA—you know who you are—seem capable of getting amazing insect shots of all manner of cute creepy crawlies.

I, on the other hand, end up with a blur or an empty screen, depending on how fast said insect has legged or winged it away from me.

Perhaps life is slower down there, although there isn’t much prisa in Andalucía either, and we are renowned for our mañana syndrome. Or maybe the insects that escape into my organic haven are all budding flamenco dancers practising their sharp fast movements.


But, one little vispa (wasp) decided he would take a go-slow in the basil patch. We do get a lot of them, apart from the basil, they generally seem to be fascinated with whatever’s in the veg plot. And like most insects, if you leave them alone, they are unlikely to bother you. Just don’t ever cook chickpea and sweet potato curry in wasp season. I had the door open, and the doorway was dark with wasps battering against the chains clamouring to come into the wonderful-smelling kitchen. Eventually it occurred to me to shut the door. I didn’t cook that recipe again.

And, a daddy-long-legs, or to be more precise a crane fly, that was tormenting little Snowy on the kitchen wall just out of reach. Apparently they are agricultural pests in Europe with their larvae lurking just underneath the top soil and affecting plant roots and stunting growth. Hmm maybe that’s why the dwarf peas were even more dwarfish than expected? Better check the soil next time. But equally they are good for the soil system as they increase microbial activity. Can’t have it all ways.

Crane fly in kitchen
Crane fly in kitchen

Still, his wings are very pretty. They are also important food for spiders, birds and mammals amongst others. Wiki didn’t reference Podencos and as Snowy didn’t get near it, that one’s still open for debate. He did find a rather slow cockroach to play with, but before he decided what to do with it, it woke up and scuttled under the bed, where it was quickly swept back out and despatched to Partner to deal with in summary fashion.

Here’s a nice horsey, ten years old, and one of our neighbours on Christmas Day morning. He was out bright and early to go down to the stables to exercise some of the horses for which he doesn’t get paid. He gets paid for some of his time down there, mucking out maybe, and taking paying customers out when there are any.

A couple more roses, (I snipped the yellow one off by accident so plonked it in a lager glass vase inside), a fern-like plant that I have no idea what it is—looks like a Christmas tree with those delicate bobbles hanging like ornaments, and a garden post isn’t complete without the boys.

Have a good weekend people.


87 comments on “Slowly slowly catchee insect

    • They are like that aren’t they? Very beautiful I thought. So delicate too. Useless with butterflies, got an ok ish one of a red ad years ago. Mostly we get cabbage whites unsurprisingly. Not sure we get damsel flies. Flowers stay still until there is a slight breeze and then you would swear it is a tornado if you try to take pics.


      • What happens?

        I like featured pictures, and the way they behave; I have not got round to collecting the five pictures I need for my front page for it, which is a major feature; but I really do not like the way the menu stays at the top while you scroll down through the main page or an individual post. It is a great ugly pointless slab of black. I am sure it was not doing that when I started with it.


        • Two things. The comment box is right down the bottom of the page, and if you write more than two lines it doesn’t scroll down but goes black, sound familiar? And because you can’t see the bottom of the box you can’t see the post comment sign. In fact it might be off screen, but as I can’t see it … I thought it was a one off blip but it’s happened two or three times now. And I couldn’t comment to tell you. Then when I leave your blog I forget about it until the next time.


    • The big one is actually a lot livelier since we homed Snowy. They are pretty equal. Snowy can run away and wriggle into and out of tiny spaces but Pippa whacks him with his paw when he wants to be assertive and growls at him if he wants him to back off. I’m the one who gets bossed around.

      I only saw daddy. No idea where mummy was. I will investigate next time when I check to,see if there are any larvae in the soil.


    • I’ve avoided wasps but I did have an evil bee sting years back. We have big bees here. Of course it was one of the rare occasions I was wearing a wedding ring and it stung me just above the ring. I thought my finger was going to drop off. The ring cutting in was agony. I eventually soaped it off after a few days.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m still working on birds and dragon flies. We sometimes have the most beautiful red and blue ones passing through. Haven’t managed to successfully snap any of those… :) Bon weekend to you!


    • Birds and dragon flies? No chance!

      Bee, wasp, who knows? My neighbours call them vispas not abejas and the bees we get are HUGE.

      Acacia is an interesting call. A quicky wiki tells me that an acacia indigenous to SA is in our local seaside town:

      Do hope it’s not that, I don’t need a dirty great tree in my wall garden, it will undermine the wall, we already had to chop down two nispero trees for that reason.

      Thanks :)


      • I don’t think it’s an Acacia Karoo – we have one in our garden (pic at another time). Acacias are also indigenous to Australia (, and some of these species are very invasive in SA, and steps are being taken to eradicate them. So, perhaps in suggesting yours is an acacia, I was perhaps barking up the wrong one…
        I also got to thinking about the difference between bees and wasps, and this page was the clincher for me
        Wasps don’t seem to like flowers. Bumble bees are huge and we have them, and honey bees here… Good looking basil, BTW :)


        • I don’t think it is either but I was fascinated that outside SA the town four klicks from me was mentioned! I did read the general wiki link after your first comment. I dunno. I’ll have to spend time having a hunt … Maybe,

          On the wasp bee thing, some wasps do pollinate though, and without wasps, fig trees wouldn’t survive. What do we have near us? Lots of fig trees. So I still don’t know.

          Bees I remember from the UK looked well different, round and cute. I make no claims either way. We used to have a great free local newsletter/mag thing with great nature info but I haven’t seen it for ages and it never mentioned bees/wasps.

          Should I learn more about bees/wasps/mystery plants, I will update.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Interesting conundrums, both. Managed to photograph a dragon fly last evening. Common all garden brown, not red or blue…. The quest continues :-)


  2. Lovely photographs. Favourite is “See my pretty wings”. Have tried to capture insects with very limited success. Maybe I need a better camera.
    Or a photography course.


    • It’s just The Queue. It can be due to ‘planes, it can be due to the Spanish Guardia Civil or Policia Nationale just making life difficult at the behest of their political masters. C’est la vie.

      Actually it’s more a case of the road dissects the runway. Still fun though, driving or walking or cycling across a runway to enter Gib. Nearest airport to the city in the world.


          • Hey Kate, i’m editing a longish work and have a question regarding symbol usage. When you use hyphens is it technically correct to write

            a) blah blah blah – yip yip yip – blah blah blah


            b) blah blah blah–yip yip yip–blah blah blah

            If it’s the second, what is the command to get the really long lines?


          • Cheek! I should charge for valuable advice, but here goes.

            To start with, the really long lines are an em dash —, the middle one is an en dash –, and a hyphen -, is irrelevant because it’s not the same usage.

            Purists (usually referring to Chicago Style Manual) would say, “Kate, I really think—no wait—I’ve changed my mind.” It’s basically being used for interrupted speech.

            The difficulty comes when you don’t want to use it like that, say – you would rather put a break in your text, but not the sudden feeling you get from an em dash no spaces. One respected typographer considers an en dash with spaces perfectly acceptable, it’s less visually disturbing. You can have too many em dashes.

            Chuck me a few pages/short chapters over and I’ll have a quick scan through for you. Promise not to take the piss like I do with Ark. I’ll send you some basic/tips advice back.

            I do most of my work on an iPad, I’m totally Mac’d. Just google ‘command for em dash’.

            I’ve been meaning to do another writing post as they were my post popular posts last year according to WP.


          • You’re a precious gem! Thank you :) Seems I just have to hit dash twice and word does it all by itself. Clever!! I was going to ask for your eye to look it over, but only after the structural/content edits are done. You know i’m pedantic about every sentence, so i doubt there are many typos, but I’d truly appreciate your profession opinion on the product when it has got its legs on and is thinking about walking out the door.


          • I’ve heard of that double hit fix, but as Word isn’t my thing, I just hit the em dash on Mac, but depending on the font double en dash should work as an en dash is half the size of the em dash. It’s old typography, based on ens and ems. Computers can mess with font sizes though.
            Walking out the door isn’t the best idea, that’s why I suggested sending me something across earlier for a quick look, I don’t need to read the whole work to get an idea and, easier to fix sooner than later, and I’m not just talking typos but … your choice. (If you use ellipsis, note the gap either side). What style guide are you using? Fiction or academic? UK, US, Australian, Canadian or Zandean? Is your formatting correct? Etc. Sounds as though it’s finished so you’re going through editing rather than editing while writing, how many words/pages?


          • About 40,000, presented as a type of academic treatise, so formality is the thing. I have no idea what style i’m actually using… Just the one i was taught. In this case should i use the longer, no-gap lines?

            Sure, if you don’t mind looking a segment I’d be happy to send it through. Thanks! Send me an email so I get yours.


      • Having an aircraft land under my nose is my favourite memory of Gib. A not so favourite memory is seeing poor policemen dressed as they do in the UK, in the most unbearable heat!


  3. Those are great. I remember on holiday in Italy the garden of the villa was pretty much heaving with hummingbird hawk moths. Jeez how many blurry non starters did I try to take of those. Never did get a decent shot. The one of the crane fly is amazing, you can see his knobbly knees and everything. And I agree, his wings are like stained glass windows. Someone arts and crafts I think, like Burne Jones. The wasp looks honey bees in Britain, just to confuse the unwary foreign visitor!

    Loved the shots though, especially love your white dog. He’s gorgeous.




    • Thank goodness there is someone else out there who admits to taking blurs and well, nothing. Love the whole arts and crafts thing. I was working in an art gallery (Walker, Liverpool) during my degree, I say working, I mean for free, and there was a Burne Jones exhibition and one of the curators was so snooty about it. I liked it. I chucked the non-job not long after.

      I’m answering these, sensibly, in reverse order but I’m going to reply to Fiona above about fig wasps …

      Snowy thanks you. He thinks so too. He is a particular pain when he wants to lie or walk on you though.


  4. In the smaller version of the photo, the lamp post makes it look like the rock has eyes.

    Nice shots; perhaps you don’t need a DSLR. Many of the smaller formats these days are quite good . . . still expensive, though.


  5. I love your pictures and I will admit to feeling more than a pinch of envy at the sight of living critters still able to survive without being bundled in layers of insulation. As you might expect there are no insects living outdoors in NL right now :-) Besides us humans it’s limited to dogs, cats,moose, caribou, coyotes, hares, crows, gulls and eagles for the most part.


    • A slice of my life really. This is more of a photo post than normal but it’s easy on the eye.

      Yeah, but you do get moose wandering down the street though. We get raptors around us, but Ms Can’t Walk Ten Yards hasn’t been to the raptor spot of late. Bit early for them too. Doubt I’d get a decent pic anyway 😀


  6. That’s a pretty good shot of the Crane Fly.
    You could have spent more ti e with it and as Clare pointed out, focused on the ”stained glass” effect of its wings.

    I find with insects that if I set my mind to go and photograph them something always turns up. It might not be the subject I had in mind, but there is always a photo opportunity around flowers and shrubs as this is where insects hang out.


    • I’m using a flipping iPhone. Hell, it stayed still. That’s a result in itself and its pretty much in focus. That’s all I want. I am on record as NOT being a photoblogger. It bores the pants off me. Also, I think you possibly have a larger space than I do and more diverse creepiest?

      On the other hand, give me a book with a load of errors … I’ll be writing about one next week. Unbelievable errors. Seriously.


      • Iphone smiphone….

        If you hate photo blogs why the heck do you post pics, you nutter!

        Well, yeah, we have a but more personal space but you have a whole darn country/ rock just outside your door, and another country just up the road.

        Oh, I saw your review post, btw, but you know me on such photos. Skipped it pretty sharpish.
        When you’re all mended and flashing a bit of leg, then I’ll look. ;)

        I’ll wait for your book review. I flinched already.


        • Because it’s notaphotoblog, you nutter. They are merely there to enhance the brilliant prose. Or distract from the boring text. Take your pic.

          It may have escaped your attention but I am not actually capable of walking up the rock right now or hiking the Santiago de compostela. Or the camino de Rey. Or anything much. Either way, I wouldn’t be spending time taking endless photos.

          I do have a decent leg shot but not sure I’ve posted it, this will have to do for now:

          No need. Even you couldn’t have plumbed those depths of errors. Dire, I tell you, dire. And this author works in publishing? FFS!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. And a queque. Universal. We had to get state stickers for the car today at the county annex – guess the weather is keeping people in – only took 20 minutes!
    That’s one gorgeous horse. Always wanted one, but prefer they belong to someone else and I just show up to ride once in a while. Would like to ride on the beach like in the movies…here the beach isn’t that pretty , the stable rental horses sweaty and irritable -and bugs..not movie quality at all looks so pretty in the movies ( snort – flowing hair both rider and horse!)
    Of course the brilliant prose here holds me spellbound…(“…all budding flamenco dancers practising their sharp fast movements.”)
    Hardly noticed the pictures at all.


    • Well, except it makes a mockery of free movement within the EU. Except it’s such a novelty going through a frontier these days so it’s quite the novelty.
      I wanted a horse, and an elephant. This horse was so patient and well behaved while Aitor stopped to chat to his family. People used to ride on the beach a lot, not sure if they’ve put no horse signs of no. No this, no that, no people next.
      Thank you ☺️


  8. Seeing that Daddy Long-legs against the white wall, took me back to my childhood. We had an outside loo and I was sitting there one morning when one of these appeared right next to me. I screamed blue murder, which brought all the neighbours running to see what was wrong. Not my most dignified moment, but forever etched on my memory. :D Love your doggy pics and dialogue.


  9. That is an absolute fact Kate and they are well trained as well. Now I’m talking about Ark’s bee, Wilfred. :P

    Now that the insects know you’re on to them, you will see more of them for sure. LOL!

    I don’t blame the wasps at all. That sounds like a delicious dish.

    Your bee is totally adorable and these are great shots hon! What is his/her name? Do you train yours as well? :P

    What a great shot of the Crane fly! We have them here as well and our spiders do enjoy them. I think Wiki is a bit behind where Podencos are concerned. LOL!

    Wow! What a stunning horse and what a hunk! *drooling*

    The roses are absolutely stunning and you took excellent shots of them and no, I am not just saying so, so shut up! And the shots of Snowy and Pippa are absolutely awesome! Love the sun worshipper one. He is such a cutie and the one where Snowy was ‘talking’ to him made me giggle.

    Love those moody clouds. I was there. LOL! No queues for me thank you. I’d stay at home with Pippa and Snowy. :D

    Also, LOVE the header! Magnificent!!!


    • I think any creature that ventures onto your patch knows to be well trained. Sort of like People/householders with benefits? They seem to be learning over on Ark’s spot too. He’s yet to get a tribe of vervets though 😀🐒

      Both you and Fiona seem to think they are bees not wasps. Hmm. I shall have to ask my neighbours why they are wasps. They do make wasps nests though. He is called Basil 😉

      Crane fly seemed harmless enough and Snows gets enough to eat, so best he was left in peace after his photo shoot. No idea where he went.

      The horse was so gentle and Aitor is so good with them. Hunk horse or young man? A is good-looking though. Lucky he takes after his mother and maternal grandad though.

      OK I’ll shut up, although seeing your rose pix today put me to shame. Trouble with the dogs is, Snowy is so lively that I can get more variety of pics. Even when he sleeps he changes position. But I like playtime pix when I get them.

      Not really, just sunrise. My view for sunrises with the bull is better than sunsets unless I walk down the beach. But thanks darling.🌞

      Liked by 1 person

      • LOL! More like they’re training me. hahahaha! But thanks for saying so. :D

        Yes, I think Ark is a natural ‘trainer’ and yes, I think he would enjoy them as well. :)

        Now that is strange indeed, but don’t mind me. I’ve been known to be wrong many times. Ask the Ark. LOL! They just looked like honeybees to me.

        They are indeed and I bet he does. :D

        I was talking about Aitor. Such a cutie and well, the horse is stunning! I love horses as well! :D

        Pfffftt!!! Your rose shots were absolutely magnificent and I loved them and all your other shots, and I am not just saying that. You have such a great eye for photography. :D

        Oh yes, especially a lively one like Snowy but you do get great shots of him.

        A stunning sunrise and shot it is. He looks so majestic there at the top. See what I mean by you have the ‘eye’? :D


        • I think I’m just untrainable 😀

          Well, I’m happy to be told differently, makes no odds what they are. They buzz around and leave me alone unless I cook sweet potatoes although they have been seen to take an interest in beer.

          I do like taking Snowy pics. He’s so diverse and variable. Pippa is (nearly) always asleep, as you would be at his age, we’ve had him 11 years plus however old he was eg 1/2/3/4?

          I’m just a snapper of what looks ok at the time 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Excellent pics… I had to stop and think what season you would be in – it’s grey, dull and rainy outside my window but sunny and bright via your lens. Not complaining though, it quite brightened my dreary long first day back at my desk.


  11. Great pics! I have another theory… Said insects slowed down for you to give you a chance… sympathy and all that given your age and condition. Either that or simply not overly-concerned about you getting to them fast enough to do any damage. They very good with the instinct thing, you know. ;)


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