My windowsill has been quite educational recently; every autumn and winter, colonies of ladybirds gather (I would be a very niche Cinderella, and sadly they don’t chirup at me like the birds, who echo her every intonation before riffing off her suggestions) and huddle. I hadn’t realised ladybirds hibernate, but for the last few years they’ve obviously been sending each other memos – maybe in morse code via the vibrations of their tiny feet – spreading the word that the corners of the windowframe in particular are where the party is happening. 

It’s a tame sort of party, admittedly, and I have a bit of an affinity with the stray ones who, dottily, take a stroll over the lawn of my carpet. Maybe it gets a bit much being in such close quarters. I have taken to stepping over these anomalous ladybirds, then thinking again and going back with a piece of loose paper (a recipe I’ve scribbled, or a list, or an itinerary for Asia) and easing them forward onto the paper. I’m always terrified I’ll hurt their tiny legs (though they are so unpredictable they could easily fly up in my face, the weird, vibrant breastplates they wear on their backs splitting down the middle to become wings if they can so be bothered; though they usually can’t, being so half-wintry-fied), but reassure myself that they probably experience time so differently from me that they are ready for the paper even before I’ve thought to retrieve a piece; and I talk to them about how great it’ll be to get back onto the windowsill, which is where I tend to leave them, along with my various recipes and lists (I taketh and I giveth away, and I abandon). So, as you can imagine, the party never truly ends.


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