It was coming from the direction of the recently poisoned and ploughed haymeadow, so presumably it was a survivor of the large population of these bedstraw munching members of the leaf beetle family that used to live in the meadow. Maybe it had got sick of trying to survive on the fringes and was migrating in the hope of finding a more welcoming site. It is female, so it may have been wanting to lay eggs somewhere safe. They are flightless, so ponderously walking is their mode of travel.
A Lesser Bloody Nosed Beetle on the move.According to a notice on the mairie notice board, there is a proposal to build a small young offenders detention centre on the former haymeadows and adjoining old furniture factory site. It is within the town boundaries, so I am sure it will result in many objections before/if it goes ahead. I just hope that if it does eventuate it turns out to be the sort of inspirational place we can all be proud of, where young people genuinely get a second chance. I was talking about it to Martin, a long time reader of our blog who we have only just met in person. He comes from a large local family (his cousin designed our staircase) and his hope is that all the wood working and furniture making skills in this town can be put to good use. Martin's idea is that it would be nice if some sort of continuity could be maintained, by providing inter-generational mentoring and vocational training, giving the young inmates the opportunity to come out with a trade, along the lines of the horticultural training provided at the Chateau de Verneuil.
PS The annual plant fair at the Chateau de Verneuil is today. I will be there and plan on buying all my vegetable seedlings from them. If you are going to buy plants, bring a box or two to put them in - they are in very short supply otherwise. Plan to have lunch in the dining hall served by the students - it's good value and good food, and another way you can support the foundation that runs the place.