And read to Maddy again tonight, for the first time in five days. She came down to World Horror for a couple of days, and had a very good time indeed, as only seven year olds can have at conventions. (I doubt many of the other convention attendees made much use of the hotel swimming pool, for example. Well, I know I didn't.) She discovered she likes fountain pens, after borrowing mine to sign with, and she was approached to write poems by a Tanguera editor. "I'd love to read some of your poems," said the Tanguera. Maddy looked uncomfortable. "Your dad says they're really good." Maddy shifted from foot to foot. "And we pay ten dollars for every poem we use."
Huge seven year old grin at the prospect of unbounded wealth ahead. "Dad will send you some of my poems," she said, very definitely.
I reminded her of this tonight. "Oh," she said. "It's all work, work, work. Once I get home from school I have to practise my violin, and I have to do reading for school, and then we do reading... now I have to write poems too."
I suppressed a smile. "At least you aren't bored," I pointed out.
"I'm never bored," she said, as if that were obvious. "It's just I'd like a bit more time to play on the computer."
Someone on the FAQ line told me that the ladybirds are actually japanese bean beetles. Everyone told me to vacuum-cleaner them up (which would work better if this weren't a very old house with very high ceilings) to avoid the smell and to move them in quantity. One person added our dog has taken to eating them (I guess because they move - dogs, go figure), and without getting too graphic, let's just say that the digestive system of the common canine does not alter their odor. Aren't you glad you know that?
I can add one piece of information to the whole japanese bean beetle lore: goldfish will eat all of a japanese bean beetle, even the spotted wing case, but they don't eat the wings. I figured that out when I notice the drifts of beetle-wings on the top of the water in the goldfish-tank.