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December 20, 2013 By Andy Ross

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Bugs and textiles

An age-old animosity between textile lovers of two different sorts just got a refreshing makeover for me.

Those of us who collect fabrics know all about moths and the damage that larvae can do to our precious stores. Mothballs and bombs, sprays and fastidious watching in the moth season do not always work. You need to catch the little blighters before they turn into moths and create the next generation and that isn't always easy. So, imagine my delight and surprise when I was given a beautiful book, Bugs Britannica, which presented insects in a new and delightful way.

I have long been a fan of insects and creatures, so much so that last year, I ran a musical series in local Primary schools called Creepy Crawley Musical where we made ant costumes and flowers and marched in columns and rolled dung and generally had a great time writing songs and performing them.

This new book is written in a chatty, informative and drily witty style and it was the style that entraced me. It took me back to my own young days in the back garden of the house we lived in, in Zimbabwe, where insects and creeply crawleys abound, and the games that we played that featured insects. Do you remember the poem "Ladybird, ladybird. Fly away home? Your house is on fire. Your children are gone?" That poem appears in the book along with regional variations from the UK. Nearby, the book offers more regional variation in the form of the different names that crop up in the UK, some unique ones from Orkney and Shetland among them.

But it is the pictures that are the best. Anyone who likes bright colours and startling juxtapositions of pattern should have a quick look through this. From scales on butterflies to sketches of sea life, from pupae cases to a bizarre and strangely enchanting set of photographs of dressed fleas, (yes, in clothes) this book has something that will pull you out of any doldrums. It is a fun and interesting read and I am looking forward to sending you more about the amazing world we live in as I discover it.