by Paul Cormacain
FOLLOW the crowds to Castle Espie on 7 and 8 September for the Green Living Fair. There will be idealists there, along with practical folk, but the one thing they have in common is to provide a better world for ourselves and our future generations.
There are workshops running all day, with such titles as Trees for the Future, Propagating Wildflowers, Renewable Energy on a Small Scale. You can wonder around the Castle grounds, meet a Owl Man, listen to Pedal Powered Music, view the Irish Brent Satellite Tracking Website.
There are a total of 13 workshops, and a total of 20 events, and hopefully a total of thousands of visitors.
The reason for the timing is that the politicians are running off to Johannesburg to fight for a better earth, but the Castle Espie ones are showing it to local folk on the ground. If the politicians want to come, they are welcome as well.
A Devil's coach horse moved between stones down the bank, and when it saw me it quickly hid under a stone. It must have been more afraid of me that I of her. As insects go, it is quite large. 25 mm in length, and can look menacing.
It is a common species, and it frequently visits damp houses and gardens. This particular one was in a friend's garden. It is when it decides that you are an enemy that the posturing starts, and it can surely scare humans. It is such a good actress that it almost scares me, even though I know it is harmless.
The Devil's coach horse is a rove beetle, and there are almost 1,000 species of rove beetle in Britain and Ireland. The coach horse is our largest one.
If you come across a Devil's coach horse for the first time you think, what a large black insect, how unusual! Then it detects you, figures you as an enemy, and curls its tail up like a scorpion, and you just want to get away from it. But it is harmless to humans.
Other reactions of the Devils coach horse If it feels threatened it
can curl its tail over its body, and then it emits a deterrent smell,
guaranteed to make any creature decide to go the other way.
While humans may feel safe in the presence of this creature other lesser beasts would feel distinctly apprehensive.
The horse is predatory, and is a beetle with a powerful pair of mandibles, which it uses to great effect when acquiring spiders, caterpillars and earwigs, and any other small thing which moves. It enjoys them all for lunch and dinner.
It was in an English book that I learned that the Devil's coach horse has a place in Irish mythology. It seems that this beetle is a symbol of corruption, and is able to kill simply on sight. It will appear after dealing with the devil, and it will then eat sinners.
The tail, which looks so grand if forbidding, can cast a curse if raised.
What utter rubbish, but it reminds me to be careful in the presence of the Devil's coach horse.