With the prolonged fine weather, all kinds of exotic creatures have appeared in our part of the countryside for the first time in living memory. Hummingbird hawkmoths are plentiful. I have seen not one but a dozen at a time hovering over the snapdragons in our flower garden.
Not only hummingbird moths but hummingbirds have appeared. Calling at the Three Tuns, I found the regulars in an uproar as a whole bevy of these beautiful little creatures hovered over their pint pots, causing the less wide-awake to drop them on the floor.
At last Old Ted, the landlord, fairly lost his temper. “Get away, you pesky little varmints!” he shouted, lunging at the glittering little beauties, then chasing them across the room until he tripped over an antique horsecollar he keeps for grinning through and fell heavily to the ground, cursing all tropical interlopers.
There was a big laugh at this, and Old Jim, who always keeps a stuffed magpie on his person to avoid bad luck if he should meet a single magpie, annoyed the landlord even more by producing it and waving it in his face.
Meanwhile, the hummingbirds were hovering over the shove-halfpenny board, putting Old Frank and Old Amos off their game. Rustic oaths bombinated about the smoky room, growing ever more archaic and outlandish as I tried to make hurried notes in phonetic script.