It's strange what can lift your mood

22 Jun 2023

The last few weeks have been particularly hard for myself and my wife: 

  • - I have had yet another attack of gout that lasted several days, this time in my ankle so I was not very mobile
  • - My wife has had some odd aches and pains in new places
  • - Our Staffie had to have another cruciate ligament operation, which cost a fortune and he now needs physiotherapy
  • - Our Cockapoo has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, and he too now needs physiotherapy
  • - Our son has been well and truly hooked by a spoilt, needy, clingy girlfriend, though we and others tried to dissuade him
  • - I had to replace the regulator and battery on my motorbike
  • - I lost one of my car keys and it will cost a fortune to replace it
  • - And to top it all - I have just been placed at risk of redundancy; I'm nearly 65 so what chance of redeployment?


The other day we had our first stag beetle of the year. We usually get a few in our garden each year and last year I was thrilled to witness males fighting over a female in one of our bushes.

This one was a male, about 7cm long. He had some spiderweb wrapped around one of his huge jaws (or mandibles), but he sat patiently on my hand while I picked it off for him.

I looked in wonder at his features - the hard wing covers (or elytra), the fearsome-looking mandibles he uses for fighting other males and impressing females, the spiky legs and feet, the tiny eyes, the mouth parts.

He will have lived as a grub underground for up to seven years, before metamorphosing into his adult form. He will now fly clumsily around at twilight looking for mates, then die after only a few weeks.

After a few minutes on my hand he popped open his elytra to reveal his delicate wings and, a second later, flew off, narrowly missing my head.

Seeing these beetles really lifts my spirits, whether they are flying, crawling, mating or just sitting on my hand. It could be simply the wonder of nature, or how they look so frightening yet are so docile, or that they are so different from us.

Whatever it is, my troubles were eased, my mood was raised, and it made my year.

It's strange what can lift your mood.


A Moodscope member

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