Tuesday, January 30
the butterfly house
“Shut your eyes and I will brush them with daisy dew. Turn around slowly three times, that will give the dew time to take effect,” said the cuckoo. “Here goes-one-two-three. There now.”
“Griselda opened her eyes. What did she see? The loveliest garden that ever or never a little girls eyes saw. It was just a delicious garden. There was a charming mixture of all that is needed to make a garden perfect-grass, velvety lawn rather; water, for a little brook ran tinkling in and out, trees of course, flowers of every shade and shape. But all these beautiful things Griselda did not at first give as much attention as they deserved; her eyes were so occupied with a quite unusual sight that met them.
This was butterflies! There were such enormous numbers of them, and the variety of their colour and sizes was so great. They were fluttering about everywhere: the garden seemed actually alive with them. Griselda stood for a moment in silent delight then she turned to her little friend.
“Cuckoo,”she said, “I thank you so much. This is fairyland at last!”
The cuckoo smiled, he shook his head gently.
“No Griselda,” he said kindly; “this is only butterfly land.”
(From ‘The Cuckoo Clock’ by Mrs Molesworth, 1877)
Today we went to the London Butterfly House. It is an amazing place. You walk into a warm tropical garden and are surrounded by clouds of butterflies that flap around, completely undisturbed by humans. If you are wearing brightly coloured clothing the butterflies will flock to you and crawl all over you trying to find nectar.
You can hunt around the foliage and find the tiny white eggs laying on the leaves. Then look for the leaves that have been munched on. Nearby you should spot some caterpillars. Then just stand there, without moving, in the middle of the garden and see how many butterflies settle on you.
It is such a shame this place is being closed down next October. It is being knocked down to build a hotel, taking a piece of my past with it. Hopefully the butterflies will find a new home because this is one thing I always recommend visitors to London see.
at 4:14 PM