The butterflies that grace the Czech Republic are more varied and more frequent than those we get in England. Our garden is full of them dancing in the late summer sun, as I sit in my plastic chair watching. Some are quite plain – butterflies from the woods in a range of browns and subtle dappledness. Other are lighter - large and small brimstones, frittilaries, swallowtails, others are familiar like the many peacocks and tortoiseshells. I pursue them with camera in hand, but rarely get the photo I want.
Of all them, this beauty is my favourite and not just because it posed so obligingly. It is large (much larger than butterflies I see in my Cotswold garden) its wings are dark brown, edged with cream, and decorated with a line of turquoise flecks so intense they glow in the sunshine. Its beauty is subtle not flashy, an classy gem of a butterfly. The book says it's a Camberwell Beauty – well, I lived and worked in South East London and I never saw this butterfly anywhere there and certainly not in Camberwell.