Visiting Verkhoyansk

It's not been an auspicious day. I've been working in my studio with the wind and rain beating against the windows giving as little respite as the growing list of bugs that I'm receiving updates on. Roam is up for the weekend, but he's now got sick and has been crashed out downstairs all day. Neither of us have been in great spirits. I did take five minutes to find someone for a portrait but that was the only time I've been outside all day. My only company at the top of the house was this butterfly, which decided to land in Siberia.

I've no idea where they are coming from, but this is just one of many small tortoiseshells that I've found fluttering around the house in recent days. One met a very sad demise that I can't even bring myself to talk about, but this one explored the world for most of the afternoon until I looked up and realised it had gone. They are bit dopey so I fear it might have dropped off the equator and perished at the paws of the cat.

Looking at the image I became fascinated by this place called Verkhoyansk, in the bottom left corner here, just inside the Arctic Circle. For some reason, perhaps attracted by its incredible remoteness from anywhere else, I was compelled to google it, to discover that it is reputed to be the coldest inhabited place on the planet. The mean winter temperatures defy belief. There is a certain romance for me about such extreme ways of life. I would love to experience what that kind of cold actually feels like, what that kind of remoteness actually feels like. I found this article. Life for us pampered Westerners would be as fragile there as life would have been for this butterfly if given its freedom outside today.

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