Monday, June 18, 2007


This is what happens when cats swat insects that sting.

Poor Jules, he never learns.

I suspect he must have decided to play with a wasp. If it had been a hornet the effect of its sting would have been far worse I fear.

Every summer we encounter hornets here. They tend to build their nest in the hollow oak tree opposite the house, and head unerringly for the lights once darkness descends.

On one occasion we had two or three circling the lightbulb on the landing and I was too scared to go past them to the bedroom. I slept in the living room, big wuss that I am. And I am right to be wary. Hornets are enormous and menacing with a subsonic rumble that makes bumble bees sound like Joe Pasquale on helium. Many people will tell you that they are less aggressive than wasps, and unlikely to sting, but I am not prepared to give them the opportunity. I avoid them rather than trying to kill them. They are tough creatures and no matter how much you blast them with chemical spray they will not fall down. When they get zapped by the electric bug killer they sizzle and spark and refuse to expire for a good half hour.

One memorable night I went up to bed, snuggled up under the duvet and fell asleep. An hour or so later my husband came upstairs to join me. Time passed, all was snoozy and fine, and then suddenly:

"AAAAAARGH! Oh great buggery FUCK! OW!"

I sat bolt upright in bed, fumbling for the light, as my husband continued to howl anguished obscenities while flailing around the bedroom.

His upper thigh was reddening and swelling rapidly as the culprit crawled sluggishly out from under the duvet. Somehow a hornet had got into the bedding at some earlier point in the evening and I had been sleeping with it in blissful oblivion until my husband had got into bed and disturbed it. Unfortunate as it was for Bert to be stung on the upper thigh he considered himself miraculously lucky not to have been stung any higher up. Though he was saddened at missing out on the opportunity to give the old "take away the pain and leave the swelling" joke a bit of an airing. Sadly, or thankfully, depending on your point of view, I have no photo to illustrate his swollen appendage, but it was impressive. And I am henceforth wary of hornets and check the bed carefully before retiring, if I've had the windows open.


Reg Pither said...

I sympathise. Once, when I was a student in Manchesterford, I got stung on the ass by a wasp while in bed. It turned out that there was a gigantic wasps' nest in the attic.
I'm not sure what your reaction was when your husband asked you to suck the poison out but, I can assure you, my requests for help fell on deaf ears.
I hate wasps.

Robert Swipe said...

"...check the bed carefully before retiring, if I've had the windows open."

I do this *every* night Doris, without fail. But somehow, whenever I turn down the sheets, Ma Swipe is always there....

And yes, before you ask, I *have* tried rentokill.

I wish Jules a speedy recovery. Is s/he by any chance named after lovable BBC London traffic guru Jules Laing (nee Wilson)??


L.U.V. on ya,