Hello, my name is Horace. I’m a Hairy Caterpillar. Some people call me a ‘Fox Moth Caterpillar’, but I’m very proud and prefer to be known as Macrothylacia rubi. I am dictating this for the benefit of Kate, who I am told has never seen one of my kind.
Anyway, last Saturday morning I was minding my own business on the side of a hill when I spotted some black legs approaching.
I was afraid.
My friend, the Scary Scouser, had told me about black legs.
“The most dangerous” she told me, “belong to the Pie People of the Far North.” “Those are short and stout, stunted from working in the mines. Equally dangerous are the slow, skinny black legs of the men from the Far East. But it is flat there, and they rarely visit hillsides as steep as yours” explained the Scouser, who added…
“If you are lucky, the black legs may belong to a Local Lady.”
So it was with great relief that I heard the words “Hello, I’m Sue, I am a Local Lady”.
I soon discovered that I was going to have A Day Out. “I have a young friend who would like to meet you” Sue told me, and she placed me in a box with some food and some air holes.
I was made to travel with a Grumpy Man in a bouncy bag, but it was quite warm in there and I was soon lulled to sleep.
After a long time, and a car journey, I arrived at my Holiday Home.
“This is Timperley” explained Sue, “it is near the Centre of the World.”
I told her I was hot, so she put me outside, protected from danger by a plastic box, with some very delicious rocket leaves to help me grow much bigger. (She was well-meaning, but should have known that I don’t eat rocket – my diet is heather and bramble, but after emerging from hibernation in early spring, and having reached full growth the previous autumn, I do not need to feed, but I sunbathe at every opportunity. This basking is necessary for my successful development.)
Meanwhile, Sue went in search of her friend, Kate. But Kate was in bed. She had to get up at 4.30 the following morning.
I was very sad. I wouldn’t get to see Kate.
“Never mind” said Sue, I’ll just take this video then I’ll get you back home tomorrow.
I told her I was a bit bored with my current home on Bleaklow. There’s no music there.
“I’ll see what I can do” she said. “Goodnight.”
The following day I didn’t see Sue at all. I think she must have been in bed. Instead, the Grumpy Man put me back in the bouncy bag and soon we were travelling in a car full of humans.
I was afraid. I remembered the Scary Scouser’s tales about dangerous black legs. One of these people had black legs. He was driving the car. We might crash. I’ll suffer nightmares….
Thankfully we finally came to a halt.
“This is Tegg’s Nose” said the Grumpy Man. I wondered ‘who is Tegg?’ but was scared to ask the question. I wondered whether Kate, who I was supposed to have visited, would know. Or perhaps her Dad?
Anyway, I then bumped along in the bouncy bag for about an hour in the rain.
Soon after stopping for a Mug of Tea at a tea van the bumping suddenly stopped.
“There you go, you are free now” said the Grumpy Man, letting me out of the plastic box that I had come to quite like.
“This is Shutlingsloe” he explained, “Kate has been here, it’s much nicer than that horrible hillside on Bleaklow.”
I was inclined to agree. It had been an exciting day out, but I was very happy to be on a hillside again with lots of nice heather instead of that horrible peat that was on Bleaklow. There were some large leaves to hide under to avoid the rain, but I was thirsty, and the raindrops made lovely music.
By the way, I’m only a baby (just like Kate, really). When I grow up I’ll grow into a Fox Moth and look a bit like this.
What will you look like, Kate?