George Monbiot’s memory (Our selective blindness is lethal the living world, 20 December) is indeed bittersweet. As a boy I also recall summertime nettlebeds thickly hanging with the black caterpillars of peacocks and small tortoiseshells. We used to gather them and then watch them pupate and hatch on the top of our television set (a somewhat bulkier item in the late 1960s). I don’t recall seeing such butterfly fecundity for more than 40 years.
Director of conservation, London Wildlife Trust
• The light here in Kirkcudbright (Letters, 16 December) is also particularly treasured by artists (viz Hornel and the Glasgow Boys). Many of our beaches up here comprise millions of sea shell shards – scallop and cockle in particular – which make the coast glow on a beautiful sunny day.
Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway
• Paul Manning (Letters, 20 December) is right to draw your readers’ attention to Stackridge’s mention of Nempnett Thrubwell. However, it was predated by the Wurzel’s 1976 song Down in Nempnett Thrubwell, which includes the lyrics: “There’s not a pub, there ain’t a shop, you never see a traffic cop / Drink up, and no one says ‘stop’, down in Nempnett Thrubwell.”
• Roy Harper, Watford Gap on the album Bullinamingvase. Chorus: “Watford Gap, Watford Gap / Plenty of grease and a load of crap.”
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