The good thing about winter is that there are far less spiders. Which means there are less cobwebs to clean up, fewer patches of arachnid excrement to scrub off the window sills and fewer ethical dilemmas concerning their extermination and the methods I might use.
The advantages of winter do not just stop at the reduced spider community. Insects in general are few and far between – I do not miss the clouds of midgies at the waters edge, or the maddening high-pitched buzz of a trapped bee on a window pane. I had not realised just how much I had appreciated this over the last couple of months until tonight. Until my insect-free utopia was breached.
I was sitting at the table (lounging on the sofa), eating raw carrots (a whole bag of toffee popcorn) and working on my university assignment (binge-watching ‘House of Cards’), when my attention was momentarily distracted from the screen by a fleeting shadow on the wall. A quick glance around and I was satisfied that it wasn’t a rogue spider crawling over the spotlight (as they constantly did in summer), and I could once again devote my attention to the essay (Kevin Spacey’s acidic asides). And then I heard it. A low-level hum to begin with, that got louder and ever closer to a pitch that must surely bee* used in detention camps to extract information from hitherto unbreakable prisoners. And then I saw it rise from the coal bucket. A giant (genetically-modified for insect warfare) drunken wasp.
I would like to claim my reaction was minimal and level-headed. And I could. This is my blog after all. I could claim whatever heroics I wanted and who is going to contradict me? (Most people who know me I imagine.) But I have my credibility to consider, and so this is the truth, the whole truth (at least 90%) and nothing but the truth (possibly with some dramatic licence). I squawked, leapt up from the sofa and simultaneously also cowered. The wasp was repeatedly bouncing itself off the ceiling in a haphazard way – I didn’t know what it was going to do, making it the most dangerous type of kamikaze flying insect there is. I grabbed a teacup and a copy of ‘Jurassic Park’ and took up my combat stance (which may have been mistaken by any passers by for a continuation of the aforementioned cowering).
The battle was furious. The wasp continued to fly into the roof, rarely pausing for breath. I waved the teacup around in the hope might miraculously catch the wasp, whilst also retreating furiously into the kitchen, and at one point the bathroom, should the wasp actually get anywhere close to the teacup. (To add an extra dimension of peril to the dual, all of this was making the boat rock wildly [in a gentle side-to-side motion] – my neighbours may have thought I was having a better time than I actually was.)
The teacup was getting me nowhere, so I resorted to the book. After some desperate swipes in the air, I managed to land a hit on my dastardly opponent. Right in the middle of the cover, sending him smashing into the wall and into the pile of shoes. The win was surely mine, and I started limbering up for the obligatory victory dance. (I think you can guess that my quickstep down the galley was premature.)
Up flew the wasp, buzzier that ever, and bounced himself off the ceiling onto my head. Not cool wasp, not cool. Cue strangled yelping, head banging (in the ‘rock on’ sense, not in the ‘against the wall’ sense) and the kind of limb shaking that would seldom be bettered in the hokey-cokey. The wasp disentangled itself and recommenced battering the surfaces.
I’d like to say this was part of a dramatic crescendo, with an against-the-odds triumph at the end (with me playing the part of the underdog). If I tell you I am currently holed up in my bedroom, with the bedroom and bathroom doors shut as firmly as they’ll go, you might get an idea of how it actually finished. I may have lost the battle today, but tomorrow I shall (might) win the war. The wasp better make the most of that sofa tonight.
*not a typo. A very clever pun. Enjoy.
This blogpost was brought to you by ‘Hard Work‘ by Smoove and Turrell.