This was the second day of our [UT branch] annual iris field meeting in Bernwood Forest. Yesterday was very successful with 45 participants, including the Ashmolean Society, and fine weather. HIM did his stuff and allowed some of the participants who had never yet encountered His Eminence good photo opportunities. Many of the specimens, mostly engaged in Oak edging, were quite worn.
Today was quite different; the poor weather put people off, clearly, and only four turned up. The party included BC president elect Dr Jim Asher, and a couple who had never seen HIM. I thought we would see nothing, but, with Matthew's encouraging words "never underestimate HIM" ringing in my ears, we set off down the main drag. We noticed lots of young people in cars trying to get out of the forest, but going in the wrong direction: we pointed them in the right direction. Nobody is supposed to drive in this forest, so they had obviously got in in the dead of night. We feared the worst regarding habitat destruction, but, thankfully everything seemed in order. There was also a police presence, so there obviously had been a rave party during the night: not for the first time here.
We came across a parked car at the crossroads of the main rides. This was being 'buzzed' by iris. I then saw a second specimen inside the car! It had entered via a slightly opened window. Then we saw a girl slumped out on the back seat: she was breathing, but clearly drugged up to the eyeballs. We managed to persuade her to open a window to allow iris its freedom. She then slumped back down and we left her in peace.
So if it wasn't for the rave party, that couple would probably not have encountered iris at close quarters!