I have no idea how it happened.
To enter my flat, you have to get through a locked communal door facing the road, up a flight of stairs and through the locked door of my flat. All the windows are safety locked.
So imagine my surprise when I saw an intruder in my bedroom.
Small, colourful, in a vibrant red cloak, beautiful… and sitting upside down on my ceiling.
What the hell?
How had this butterfly flown in from the road and negotiated my stairs (although I’m guessing that part wasn’t so much an issue for it) and got through my door?
And why had it chosen to perch on my ceiling directly above my bed? What sorcery is this?
This was going to be problem.
I have never handled a butterfly before. I am not Steve Irwin or Terry Nutkins.
I didn’t even know how to approach it. Most visitors to my bedroom might get a coffee and some custard creams to coax them out, if they are lucky? I certainly didn’t know how to remove it from my Artex ceiling. No visitor had ever landed there.
Would I need camouflage and to approach it with stealth? Was there any special household butterfly catching equipment I could use like a pint glass and a sheet of cardboard as I would for spider removal?
I knew butterflies were fragile, so you should never criticise them and because I had seen that episode of Only Fools and Horses and figured it could only be removed safely with the aid of a small ladder and with great care and delicacy.
I had no such ladder. Maybe I could pretend my bed was a trampoline and bounce up and grab it like a challenge from Takeshi’s Castle?
After some thought, I decided I didn’t have the confidence to do this so allowed him/her/it (I didn’t check) to stay until it decided to leave.
I won’t deny, my first night was filled with trepidation. I had never slept with a butterfly before. I have standards.
I had read that evening about vampire butterflies and wondered if this was gonna silently flutter down in the middle of the night whilst I was asleep and feed off me? How would the coroner explain my death to a relative?
I didn’t even know if butterflies liked the dark and wondered if I should leave the light on?
I woke the next morning to find Bertie Buitterfly – Yes, I had named it and apparently, sexed it too – still firmly attached to my ceiling. Clearly he had mistaken my flat for an Air B’n’B.
I thought he’d wake up and be gone soon. After all, this wasn’t his natural habitat… Unless I missed the episode of Life On Earth where David Attenborough creeps around people’s bedrooms looking at butterflies?
Surely, it would prefer to be outside, fluttering free and showing off it’s beauty for all to see and landing on things and saying hello to pretty flowers? I’ll be honest, I haven’t researched what they do.
But it had to be more enjoyable that watching me sleep?
Because it took residency in my flat for six long weeks.
I had no idea how to look after it or feed it but apparently, it was content to sit, arms folded, and live on nothing. It was pretty much the ideal pet. It was definitely very low maintenance. All you needed to keep it happy was a ceiling.
One Sunday morning, when I returned from the bathroom into the bedroom, Bertie suggested to me he wanted to leave.
Something had clearly upset him as he was now agitated and in a wild flap about it. Maybe it was Laura Kuenssberg on the bedroom tv that made him desperate to escape? I’ve read about such things.
There then followed the most typical flying insect thing, ever. Knowing how to enter your property through the smallest of gaps but seemingly totally unable to fly through the window you have helpfully opened to its widest.
Oh, the butterfly knew where the daylight was; knew where the sunshine was, knew exactly where the fresh air and soft, gentle breeze was coming from. Did it know how to negotiate the net curtain? No. Totally clueless.
Not even after I helpfully pulled the curtain to one side to help his ease of passage from my flat to the outside world, he still decided he’d prefer to walk backwards and forwards along the curtain.
I now totally understood why people use butterfly nets to catch them. They seem to actually enjoy the net experience like a child in a soft play area. Twenty minutes he was there playing and generally faffing around before he finally walked across to the end of the curtain and realised freedom was just a small flutter away through the wide open window.
Never take butterflies into an Escape Room Experience. They’d be rubbish.
I’m kind of glad his stay wasn’t just a dull sitting on the ceiling experience and that the curtain had provided us both with some fun and entertainment before he left.
He flew gleefully (yes, I’m guessing. Im not an butterfly behavioural psychologist) out of the window to live a long and happy life.
Well, happy anyway. Because having spent six weeks firmly clamped to my bedroom ceiling, I’m really not too sure how long he has left to live. He may have been eaten by a bird within minutes? Be careful what you wish for. That’s all I’m saying.
Best not to dwell.
But it was nice to have his company and I wish him well and, in a strange way, I miss Bertie.