I have been to three Amateur Entomologists' Society annual exhibitions now and each time I come away marvelling at the distinct groups who attend.
Firstly, for those of you who have never been, this exhibition and trade fair is held at Kempton Park racecourse on a Saturday in early October. It is not so much an exhibition as a trade fair, with stalls being taken by publishers, booksellers, wildlife groups, wildlife societies, field equipment suppliers, artists, breeding and collecting equipment suppliers, et al.
It is an opportunity to browse the latest publications, seek out that old book that you never got round to buying, evaluate field equipment or just chat to likeminded souls. It is very crowded and at times there is little space to wander down the isles or get to some of the more popular stalls.
This year my purchases were modest - another 3-pin MV bulb (I always seem to get one more just so I've got enough to last into the foreseeable future) and the latest Surrey Wildlife Trust publication (the 14th book in the series) called 'Butterflies of Surrey Revisited"
I didn't get to meet up with any of my fellow bloggers for one reason and another - my contact phone number for Andrew Cunningham was unrecognised, and Mr Gibson and Dykes were either absent or kept their heads low.
Back to my initial point. The type of person who attends this event can be broken down into two main groups - the 'breeder of insects' and the 'student of insects in the field'. The former seem to be populated by a high percentage of younger people who have 'goth' tendencies - many had exotic face piercings, tattoos, black eye-liner and jet black hair. On the other hand, the fieldworkers were mostly over 50, studious, grey and bearded.
I feel as though I have fallen between two stools when I attend.