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A google search on “Painted Ladies” will take you to San Francisco, as this is the name used by Americans to describe the local Victorian and Edwardian buildings, particularly houses, that have been repainted in multiple colours to highlight the details of their architectural style.

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Britain’s Painted ladies have also been painted in multiple colours but not by human hands – these are the masterpieces of Mother Nature.

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And they are not static – they fly, and not just around our local meadows and gardens – these beauties fly all the way from North Africa and the Middle East to dazzle us with their kaleidoscope of colour.

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Some years – 2009 was one – these butterflies arrive in huge numbers – and I do mean huge. That summer, tens of millions of Painted ladies arrived in Britain and the skies were filled with fluttering colour. I hope I live to see such a sight.

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