Gendarmes in our garden!

             Why you might be wondering? What had happened? An accident? A robbery?


Actually, none of these! I have recently discovered an unfamiliar creature in our garden in S.W. France. From a distance, I thought these little bugs were a type of ladybird – must have been the colours! After much research (wasting time reading all sorts of ‘stuff’ on the internet!) I discovered that these striking looking insects are often called ‘les gendarmes’ by the locals.

Apparently, (more research!) this is because red and black were the colours of the original gendarme uniforms when they were soldiers and part of the army. Are you following?!

However, for English speakers, these fascinating insects are known as ‘firebugs’. I must admit I had never seen nor heard of them before coming out here.

I have usually seem them in large groups and they appear to love the sun. They eat the seeds of lime trees and mallow but are generally not viewed as pests.

This is a close up of a firebug on the outside wall of our house. They move surprisingly quickly!


And another one on a garden chair!

Here are some random facts about firebugs: they hibernate, their diet includes dead insects  and they have been accused of cannibalism…

Have any of my lovely readers seen firebugs? Can you add any facts to my somewhat limited knowledge?

I am linking this post with the very brilliant: #AnimalTales


I need to talk about…dog poo


Or poop, as our friends across the pond might say.

I apologise for raising this unsavoury topic but it has been on my mind for some time.

Here in France, I am very impressed by the amount of free doggie poo bags that are available to dog walkers.

In the UK, we have to provide our own. As a conscientious dog walker, I don’t mind that at all and have always cleared up after my dogs.

So why, in France, don’t people USE them? I don’t get it. I have spared you from any photos of the copious amounts of dog poo(p) that decorate the streets and pavements here. Instead, I have photographed the free bags and also the signs asking people to clear up after their dogs.

I am not alone in my opinion. In a brilliant article entitled:

‘Mind the merde: why can’t French cities clean up after their dogs?’ Phil Hoad
of the Guardian echoes my feelings.

Rant over…

I am linking this post to the very interesting #AnimalTales