Wednesday 17 April 2019

"Little things make big days"

There really is never a dull day in our house, we always seem to be doing some random activity or out looking for adventure. For all the fun that we have though there are always those random days here and there that stand out from the rest and today was one of those days. What seemed like forever ago, when we read the first of M.G. Leonard's books (Beetle boy) our whole world was opened up to to the fascinating world of Coleoptera. I can honestly say that I had never given beetles a second thought, I barely even noticed them, but those first few chapters changed everything for Opeie (and myself) and in no time at all it had made us so much more aware of the things that are around us.

The second installment of the story (Beetle Queen) was released and we were hooked, becoming more and more interested in beetles and why they are so important to the natural world. I had been so desperate for Opeie to take a real interest in something and this was it, so it became the driving force for a lot of the things we were doing with his home education. 

By the time the third and final book came out for the Beetle boy trilogy (Battle of the beetles), We could be found many times a week crawling around in the woods, turning over rotten logs and rummaging through leaf piles, it had become a way of life. We have a beetle hunting kit (which we take out everywhere), we stopped cutting our grass in the back garden and gathered rotten logs so the beetles had somewhere to live and the house became a shrine to all things beetle, with decorations and themed furniture everywhere.

When the forth book (The Beetle Collector's Handbook) had been released we had got to the point in our beetle loving lives where we were in farmers fields breaking up pooh looking for Dung beetles, I guess you could say that we had fully embraced Opeie's main interest and honestly, I was loving every minute of it.

We owed a lot to the hero Darkus and his amazing transgenic beetle Baxter, but more so to their creator and Opeie was desperate to meet her. The magic of this generation means that we were able to chat to her occasionally via social media which was awesome and we hoped that at some point that she would be book signing somewhere over our way in Shropshire. It was a long shot but we were patient. While we waited for this encounter to happen we continued our Coleoptera adventure, attending Entomology events, visiting museums and even spending an afternoon with a Dung beetle specialist in Oxford (which was really interesting). We made a list of all the places we wanted to visit and at the top of that list was Dr Beynons bug farm over in Pembrokeshire. The plan was to visit over the summer but then...

It was like a dream come true for Opeie, His favourite author at Dr beynons, Suddenly it was all systems go, Opeie was going to meet his hero and there was so much excitement surrounding the event. We tweeted Maya and let her know that we were coming to meet her finally and to have her pen ready to sign Opeie's books. The plan was to take Opeie's beetle book that he has been creating as part of his home schooling to show her so that she could see what a huge inspiration she has been to him. 

As we pulled into Dr Beynons Bug Farm on the morning of the visit another car followed us in, it wasn't until we were getting our things together ready for the visit that we realised it was Maya and her family. Opeie was in complete awe and just watched her walk by with his mouth open, Starstruck. 

Not wanting to pounce on her from the get go we spent a couple of hours looking around the bug farm, it was full of interesting information and some beautiful beetles including the Rainbow Stag Beetle which Opeie has decided he would really love as a pet.

The talk by Maya and Sarah was awesome and hearing Maya read an extract from the book in her very flamboyant way must have made my bedtime reading seem really dull, she really drew us in with how she saw the characters personalities. After the talk we waited for all the other visitors to chat and get their books signed and then it was our time to pounce. Opeie was in his element and I was feeling pretty excited for him. We chatted beetles and both Maya and Sarah read through Opeie's beetle book and seemed genuinely impressed by the work he has been doing, Sarah even requested a copy of his beetle poem to display somewhere in the beetle farm which is really exciting.

It was one of those days that was just filled with pure happiness. 

By the time we got home we were exhausted, it was one of the most fun days out we had ever had and as Opeie drifted off to sleep the huge smile on his face said it all. There must be something so satisfying when your heroes actually turn out to be heroes in real life and Maya is as super as they come.