In between managing multiple projects, both work and home, and re-watching all of the Game of Thrones seasons from the beginning, I lost a caterpillar. Or else he left me, I am not sure which. Of course it was the biggest one. Either a bird got him or decided he needed to go walkabout on my balcony to find an ideal pot in which to go to ground. Apparently my caterpillars were faking it when they kept trying to crawl out of their plastic container and demonstrating that lamentably they just couldn’t get out. Google claims that caterpillars rival Houdini in their abilities to escape and that on that last leg before they pupate they toddle off to find the ideal setting in which to live their next life stage. So they must have been setting me up. I am not sure whether I am sad or happy as what happens once it moves to the pupa stage the skin splits open and underneath the pupa emerges. Would I have wanted to watch this? I am in two minds as I am sure it must be quite disturbing to watch, but interesting of course. I now strongly suspect that H.R. Giger https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._R._Giger he of the Swiss mountains, who despite a wholesome upbringing in Heidi’s homeland is famed worldwide for his contributions to Alien fame, spent a lot of time observing insects and how they grow. Did his parents wonder where they went wrong?
Anyway so I lost a caterpillar and thus I vowed to take extra good care of the last two. According to online sources caterpillar food material should be in a pot with water, risky I thought they could drown, but due to 35°C outside I nevertheless dutifully put a jam jar in their container and added a leaf and covered the leaf’s stem with saran wrap to protect the caterpillars from death by water. And then I went to town to enjoy the 35°C weather and had a wonderful plate of lovely sushi (no I didn’t eat the whole lot by myself). Best hot weather food ever and a beer, best hot weather drink ever, if you drink alcohol that is. Otherwise a close second is a virigin mojito – brown sugar, ice cubes, lime and lots fresh muddled mint leaves- had it in Dubai and it was amazing.
When I got back I checked the caterpillars and of course one was at the bottom of the jam jar in the water. So I took him out and went to google – caterpillar drowning – google says no they don’t, although I guess it depends on how you define drowning, if you leave them in water long enough I am sure they die, as they don’t have lungs it won’t conventionally be by breathing water into them, however lack of oxygen surely plays a role. Anyway I confirm that once I put the caterpillar back onto his leaf, he was back to munching half an hour later. We learn that caterpillars can survive extended periods of time underwater, who knew?
After rescuing the caterpillar I toddled off to my dinner – inside restaurant with no outdoor seating, as I, who scoff at weather reports, checked and found out that last night the temps were meant to drop to 28 degrees and it was meant to rain. Of course it didn’t rain, there was no breeze whatsoever and in addition everyone else who had booked in the restaurant had cancelled, apparently because they were feeling ill, the host suspects it was because they didn’t want to eat indoors. I do too. More power to them I say. Second lesson for today is – don’t trust the weather reports, I don’t usually and it serves me well.
And what is Agatha Christie doing up there in the title you wonder – well regarding the caterpillars after one vanished and the second one was found at the bottom of the jar of water, pushed perhaps, it does make you think of an Agatha Christie murder mystery. For example: Death by drowning, or an as yet unwritten title Death on the Balcony. Nobody could get into the house, nobody could get out, but still 2 caterpillars almost met a gruesome fate. Was it the cat (possible) the butler (sadly don’t have one) the maid (ditto) or some thieves who scaled the walls, were attacked by the caterpillars who were defending the house, and who subsequently did away with them, or was it black magic?
Whatever the reasons, after having gone on nightly raids to find verbascum I am now really interested in seeing the little critters make it.