Sunday, 30 August 2009
Mystery crickets, truth in fiction
Over the years on my London workshop balcony I've had waves of different creatures, some more welcome than others. One year mice ate all my lobelia; I've had a couple of outbreaks of slugs, and waves of sparrows were followed by blue tits then blackbirds. I once saw a sparrowhawk. All very interesting.
But this spring for the first time ever I heard the gentle stridulation of crickets. Though I couldn't find them among the plants, I was quite excited (Chris Tarrent used to say he liked a woman who was easily excited) and added them, for a bit of extra atmosphere, to the scene in Catch a Falling Star where Caz and her friends have a birthday supper on her roof terrace in Hoxton.
This week the crickets were still there, chirping away, as I thought. Then realization dawned that the intermittent squeaking came, not from insects, but from one of those cheap circular plastic fans set in a window pane on a nearby building (you can see it in the photo). I went to the National Biodiversity Network site and looked up the distribution of crickets. According to their map, they are in Islington, but not in the Shoreditch/Hoxton area.
I wondered if I should remove the reference to them in my novel. In the end I didn't. Caz, after all, lives in a slightly better version of reality; akin to a Richard Curtis film, where friends are funnier, weather more interesting, and life is never dull. She has the crickets; I, alas, don't.
Posted by Lexi at Sunday, August 30, 2009