As beautiful as the Kent countryside and its surrounding coastline is, you know that wherever you go, you're never too far away from a road or a housing estate or an out-of-town shopping centre. It's still possible to get lost, but you can never get truly lost, and there are certainly no uncharted territories to speak of - the kind that medieval mapmakers used to populate with dragons and other mythical creatures. (Though if there were an uncharted region on the map of South East England, you can be sure that someone from the current government would try and put a runway on it.)
The thought of hundreds of shoppers dropping their bags and running in terror as a dragon wheels in the skies over the Westwood Cross is a strangely comforting one (well, to me at least), but in the absence of fire-breathing dragons, we have to make do with their insect counterparts. And judging by the number of dragonfly photos I've seen on Flickr recently, I think it's safe to say it's been a pretty good summer for dragonflies (and their damselfly cousins).
Over the last few months, at just one modest-sized pond in Canterbury, I've seen dragonflies of all different sizes and colours, including red ones:
...and hawkers with colour schemes worthy of a Formula 1 car:
On reflection, perhaps it's just as well that the dragons' diminutive namesakes don't breath fire, as the above encounter might have burned the end of my telescope.