Interlude de France

During this final week of the Tour de France, ITV4 has scheduled several additional days of live coverage on their main channel, as opposed to screening it via the interactive system (the “red button”). This is a mixed blessing. The main ITV4 channel coverage comes swamped with extremely irritating American-length-and-frequency commercial breaks whereas the ITV4 interactive coverage is unexpectedly and blissfully commercial free. The interactive coverage provides 3+ hours of live action with absolutely no breaks whatsoever. On one day there was a notable exception to this rule when there was a terminal break in the final kilometre of the stage apparently caused by an automatic cut-off to transmission. That little glitch has not recurred and the one and only advantage that I can see of the main channel’s coverage is that it is accompanied by the incisive, dry wit of Gary Imlach.

Commercials on most of these “fringe” channels are doubly irritating because the same handful of inane commercials seem to be repeated at every break; there’s little or no variation. An already irksome device becomes insufferable. For sanity’s sake, it’s necessary to find something more appealing to do in these commercial interludes, such as scrubbing the kitchen floor or visiting the dentist for that overdue drilling of a cavity.

Peacock butterflyToday I was lucky, the sun had emerged after our obligatory downpour, and our buddleia bush was attracting Peacock butterflies. A couple of days ago it had been attracting Painted Ladies and Commas but now it had moved on to Peacocks. Marvellous! Since the Peacock is one of those cooperative butterflies that settles to feed with its wings open, I was in a position to avoid a trip to the dentist by grabbing my camera and sneaking outside to try and snap one. The butterflies were clearly at pains to save me from several trips to the dentist because, initially, they insisted on settling high up and at angles unsuited to portraits. Eventually, however, one did decide to eat on a sunny lower branch and I managed to add it to my Lepidoptera catalogue. Nothing difficult about the shot but it proved to be a good clean specimen.

I wonder what might be next? Red Admiral butterflies are partial to buddleia, too.

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