Lots of pairs of Large Red Damselflies flit around our pond this sunny Sunday morning, aiming to create the little pests that sometimes take bites out of fish. There I am trying to get a reasonable shot, without much success – they’re always too far away, moving about too much, difficult to focus, awkward background… Then along comes wife: “I’ve got a pair on my hand!” Suddenly it’s easy to get a reasonable photo of those colourful bodies and lacy wings.
The female has the yellow in the stripes, and the male is a darker red.
The teacher I recall most fondly from my primary school years (ages 7-11, then called junior school) in 1950s Lincoln was Miss Abbott, probably then in her mid twenties. She was our class teacher in the second year, so I was probably 8-9. She was basically an effective teacher and a ‘nice’ person – a word I was subsequently exhorted to avoid by teachers seeking to encourage a broader vocabulary.
On the most memorable day, the whole class went out for a walk to Lincoln’s South Common, where we had an outdoor lesson on nature, and particularly the wildlife in the ponds that are found there. This was my first experience of pond dipping. And we played games on the grass.
It cannot be a coincidence that my most memorable learning experience took place out of doors in nature, rather than all the many other days spent in the classroom in front of a blackboard.
Sadly, there may have been frogs, sticklebacks and damsel flies that subsequently suffered due to the enthusiasms stimulated, but the passion for nature has remained.
Picture of pond on Lincoln’s south common by John Bennett, via Wikimedia Commons.
The pond in memory was smaller than this one.