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Matthew has been in the library for four hours, but he hasn’t quite dried off yet. His jeans are sticking to him. For five minutes he has watched the cursor flash on the screen of his laptop; half the books strewn across the table remain unopened. He sniffs experimentally: he is definitely getting a cold. Matthew’s pen lies redundant on his notebook. He picks it up and doodles something that looks like a beetle, shading it in black.

As the deadline for work on the World of Insects exhibition draws near, he is running short of inspiration. Of course, as the most junior of the museum’s curators, he was delighted that the new exhibition is to focus on his own specialist subject. But recently, Matthew’s passion for entomology has been overtaken by other concerns, and it’s not without some anxiety that he watches the days go by.

He scrolls through his typing. Display no. 6, ‘A Hive of Activity’: a week’s work. Bees make a fascinating subject, he tells himself. You’d hardly think so from reading this. He shivers, and tugs his sleeves over his knuckles.

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iScot Magazine
October 2017

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