It’s remarkable how many different insect species there are around if you go and look, and notice the various colours and sizes instead of just thinking ‘butterfly’ or ‘bumblebee’. Damselflies are the smaller, more delicate relatives of dragonflies. There were at least three species, and possibly four, in the garden today. I got pictures of some of them. This is a Large Red Damselfly:

A Common Blue An Azure Damselfly:

I’ve always assumed this one, which has distinctive grey/silver wings, was a different species, but looking around on Google it may possibly be an alternative colour form of the female Azure:

EDIT: apparently grey wings are typical of newly hatched dragonflies – ‘teneral’ in the jargon – so this is probably a teneral Azure Damselfly.

Pretty, aren’t they.

As well as those, and the Blue tailed Damselfly which I didn’t get a photo of, I’ve also seen at least one other species in the garden in the past – the Red Eyed Damselfly. And that’s without counting the ‘proper’ dragonflies.

countdown: 6 giorni, 16 ore, 24 minuti, 41 secondi

You will have noticed my incredible self control in not yet mentioning the World Cup.

But I was just watching a program called ‘World Cup Goals Galore’ featuring, well, lots and lots and lots of goals (top 10 free kicks; top ten goals scored by defenders; top ten goals scored by players with moustaches etc etc). Even just watching a couple of hundred goals one after another, without the context of the game and with a rather laboured jokey commentary, was joyous.

The great moments in football, more than any other sport I watch, are just wonderful. I think perhaps it’s just the extraordinary implausibility of the fact that they’re doing it with their feet. The human foot is not designed for manipulating objects, and even after years spent watching the game, I don’t think I’ve ever quite lost the sense that it just shouldn’t be possible to intentionally kick a ball into the corner of the goal from 25 yards. Even without defenders and a goalie to worry about.

And yet when it all comes off, it looks so easy and natural that you find yourself thinking “if you can dribble past three people, swivel and whip the ball into the corner of the net, why don’t you do it more often?”