Monday, 20 October 2008

Bug show

So I held off posting at the end of last week as I knew I'd have a ton of stuff to talk about today. I've had a super, super busy weekend but above all a FUN weekend.
Most of Saturday was taken up with attending the AES (Amateur Entomologists Society) Show at Kempton Park Racecourse. This is the biggest insect show in the UK as far as I'm aware. It has everything insect/arachnid related that you could possibly want from live specimens, to collecting equipment, to storage, to squishy rubber toys you can bounce off of the floor. I love going as it's a great chance to catch up with people. I've been going for about four years now and each time I go I have a great time. I spent this year wandering around with one of my best friends who I hadn't seen in ages. She was hunk spotting (normally quite a difficult thing to do with entomologists- we are not the prettiest race) and we giggled our way around the show assessing what was on offer. There was one particularly attractive young man who put me in mind of an elf from LOTR that won first place. As expected he has a girlfriend though so she was unable to pick up that bargain.
What I did get for myself was a couple of keys to identifying flies, some stripey cockroaches (I'll try and remember to take a picture of these for you. I defy anyone to tell me that they are icky after they've seen how pretty they are), some prints that I intend to frame and put on my bedroom wall and some stick insects for my husband to take to school. It was a fairly restrained outing all in all but then I wasn't on a mission to purchase much in the way of livestock and I have access to most of the books that I need so I only bought my keys because they where going cheap.
I also got given five Chile Rose tarantulas which was unexpected but seeing as how they are so cute and fluffy I couldn't help but be chuffed. There is one in particular that is just adorable expect a picture of her soon as well. My love of spiders is slowly growing and having to look after so many forces me to get used to being around them (we now have 10 in the department). One day I'll work up the courage to hold one but until then I think we will just have to be friends that remain separated by a pane of glass.
The really exciting point of the day had to be the fact that Bill Bailey turned up with Mrs Bailey and all the little Baileys. My friend and I squeed over this from a distance- I'm not the sort of person to go rushing up to someone just because they are famous but I do appreciate the fact that I've been within ten metres of them. It was also completely unexpected. I think Mr Bailey is about the most famous person that has turned up to an entomology gig that I've been aware of so far. I'm just holding out for Johnny Depp...
Anyway, getting away from that thought for a moment, I also got to play with a bunch of other live things (those with six legs not eight that is) including some of the most beautiful mantids I have seen yet. I managed to swap a couple of my red legged millipedes for some white legged ones which was cool and hopefully managed to encourage the people who run Metamorphosis (the ultimate livestock supplier and owners of all the mantids that I was playing with) to come in and spend some time in the collections.

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