Tag Archives: wasps

Life and Death

In my last post I had a bit of a rant about certain slimy creatures and PIL was a bit put out by the effing and blinding that took place. This post however, I’m sure will be a lot more sedate. Talking of swearing and cursing reminds me of my mate Bunsen. For many years Bunsen was a “chock head” in the British Army.

My mate Bunsen. He looks EXACTLY like this

My mate Bunsen. He looks EXACTLY like this

A chock head is what the rest of the army call the Royal Engineers for a very good reason I’m sure. Anyway, Bunsen finished his career in the army as a senior NCO. He is the only man in the history of the British Army to be reprimanded for the “continuous and persistent use of foul and abusive language towards the sappers under his command.” He is also the only man I know to have mislaid a bridge. I would love to have a been a fly on the wall for that conversation!

This is not the subject I intended writing about.

My working week is a bit odd. I start on a Sunday usually and work until Wednesday some weeks and Thursday on others. Sometimes I’m working away from home for days on end. When I’m home though I think most of the lovely people who read my meanderings know that I like to take Dexter out for a nice long stroll in the boonies and have good look around and a poke about in the undergrowth. You have to be careful what you poke though. I once accidentally poked a wasp’s nest.swarmingwasps_0508_445x260

Big mistake! I ran off screaming like a girl but I didn’t get stung which I think is testament to the speed at which I departed the area. Warp factor 10 and a bit!runningbees

Yesterday, we were just strolling along the edge of a field. It was a gloriously sunny day and it was as peaceful as you could wish for. The crops were starting to sprout, some were already in flower, bluebells were springing up all over the wooded areas and hedgerows. The wild garlic was flowering and stopping vampires from pestering me. It was a truly beautiful day. Then rising out of the trees in a display of the most graceful flying I have ever seen were two large birds of prey. The way they swooped and circled each other made me think they were showing off to one another which in turn, made me think that perhaps they were a mating pair and that they had been on the nest so to speak when Dexter and I came along. They moved higher and further along as we walked along and it made me think and hope that maybe in a little while there will be three or four of them swooping about overhead. I certainly hope so. I’m no ornithologist but I think they were buzzards.buzzard1

A twitcher would know what they were immediately although what Tourettes has to do with bird watching is beyond me. I really do hope that they do breed and there will be a few more beautiful birds gracing the air. As a matter of principle Dexter and I will avoid that area for a week or two so as not to disturb them.

A bit further along and a little while later, a movement in the corner of my eye caught my attention. Lots of spiders are now out and about spinning their webs, catching their prey and scoffing it. What I had seen was a fly caught in a web by one of its legs and struggling to escape. The owner of the web had shot out of its lair and was struggling to subdue the fly.5151 Garden Spiderxx

Now despite all the space, right next to this web was another one and in its struggle to subdue the fly, spider 1 must of touched the other web because a slightly larger version of spider1 came rushing out, bit spider 1 and killed it! Nice way to treat a member of your own species I thought. Spiders aren’t that much different to humans after all. While spider 2 was dragging the body of spider 1 back to its hidey hole it, in turn, must have touched another web because a big, black spider suddenly appeared on the scene, bit spider 2 which dropped the carcass of spider 1 and the big bugger dragged spidey 2 back to its dining room for lunch!spider1

Wow! You don’t get to see that every day. I know I keep banging on endlessly about this but today I saw what I hope will lead to new life. I also saw death and nature at its most savage albeit on a small scale and the reason I saw these things, as well as all the other wonderful stuff is because I was looking around admiring the beautiful things our world has to offer us and taking notice of it. To my mind, walking around paying attention is probably the best way to unwind, relax and to realise just how lucky we are. I know I am fortunate to live in the countryside where it’s easy to do this but even in urban areas it’s easily done if you make a little effort.20140617_135825

The fly? It escaped.

I asked PIL to check through this post for me to pick up on any errors. She was extremely pleased there has been no swearing today. Phew. I might get lucky later.

 

 

Have a fucking great day!

More Dick soon.auto

 

Gardening

 

Me

Me

 

Perhaps the only thing that can be said about the lawn in our back garden is that it’s generally green! A small percentage of that greenness is caused by grass. The rest of the greenness is made up of moss (18%), clover (23%), buttercups (17%), daisies (16%), dandelions (12%), sundry other weeds etc (11%). I think when all the weeds are flowering it actually looks quite pretty and in my opinion having a garden that pleases your eye is really what it’s all about. The abuse the back lawn gets from the amount of football, basketball, cricket, hockey and rugby that the kids play on it makes maintaining it the way my dad maintained his lawn a bit of a waste of time. However, I have discovered method in my laziness. I have a cunning plan!

I have a cunning plan

I have a cunning plan

My dad used to expend huge amounts of energy, time and money on his lawn. Even when he was getting on a bit he would mow, weed and feed it constantly and it has to be said that 96.87% of his lawn was actually grass. Every year he would grab his lawn rake and spend the day furiously raking up every scrap of moss and dead grass. He would then spend the next week in hospital with a suspected coronary. Each spring he would scatter spring lawn feed over the lawn. Every autumn he would spread autumn lawn feed over his lawn. Every year he would aerate his lawn with his garden fork and chuck lawn sand everywhere. As far as I can make out “lawn sand” is ordinary sand in  bag marked “Lawn sand” enabling the retailer to sell it for three times the price. I could be wrong. My dad used so much weed killer and sundry other chemicals that his lawn would luminesce at night.

Personally, I try not to use chemicals and weed killers. I do use it on the paths where, typically, the grass grows quite happily. It’s the same with pests. I’m not allowed by law to use chemicals on the kids much as I may want to when they destroy my Choisya Ternata. I dislike slugs intensely but now as I grow older I try to think of them as little bunches of DNA sliming around doing what slugs naturally do.slug1-400x301

Which is EATING MY FUCKIN’ GARDEN YOU BASTARDS! DIE! DIE! DIE! KILL! YOU SNOT COVERED DOG TURDS, FUCK OFF AND DIE!hostas-being-terrorized-by-slugs

Ahem. Excuse the little rant. Sorry. Much as I try to remain calm the mere thought of slugs drives me potty. DIE YOU FUCKERS DIE! I wouldn’t mind so much but the fucker slug fucks DIE YOU SHITS DIE! in my garden all seem to look like and are the size of Jabba the Hutt with an appetite to match.review_jabba_1

I do apologise for my outburst. Anyway, generally speaking I’m quite fond of the little garden beasties, so if it’s not a s**g or a sn**l, I try to encourage them. Our back garden is effectively divided into two parts. Last week I gave the whole lawn its first cut of the year. Now I like bees. Hate wasps but like bees. Bees like clover. There’s clover in our lawn and clover when cut, takes about a week to start flowering again. So. Each week, weather permitting, I will mow one half of the lawn so that each half gets cut once every two weeks. That way it looks neat(ish), the bees have a constant supply of food and I get to put my feet up for an additional half hour having done my bit to save the planet! That’s what you call a cunning stunt. (unless you’re my sister Boo, the Queen of spoonerisms, in which case it’s something else entirely).

Boo. My sister. She looks nothing like this

Boo. My sister. She looks nothing like this

Speaking of beaver, Clit Eatswood is regularly ensconced in my beard. It seems to like it there and comes quite often.

I’ve wandered off again haven’t I?

I started gardening and enjoying it relatively late. To me it was something your dad did and therefore gardening was done by old people.gardener

When PIL and I first got together we lived in a nice house overlooking a little copse with a stream running through it. It had a garden. So in an effort to further impress her and to get her kit off as often as possible I started to garden. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing (still don’t). I built a little seat out of bricks and old fence posts at the bottom of the garden where we could sit and look out over the stream. As you would expect with something I built only three buttocks could fit on the seat but this was fine because it meant PIL sat on my lap. I started watching Gardeners World on the Beeb Beeb Ceeb and the presenter, the late Geoff Hamilton, became a bit of a hero to me.

The late Geoff Hamilton

The late Geoff Hamilton

I discovered I enjoyed gardening and even better, that I was quite good at it. I can never remember the name of plants but I can visualise what I want to do and get the plants that achieve my visualisation.

Part of our garden

Part of our garden

The best thing though is that if you cock it up and have a colour clash,  a plant in the wrong place or it doesn’t suit the scheme you’re trying to achieve all you do is dig the bugger up again and plant it somewhere else. Brilliant! It helps that both PIL and I prefer informal planting with lots of colour and form and that is easy to do. For instance, bees like foxgloves. We like foxgloves. Foxgloves self seed like nobodies business so you buy a few and let them seed and you end up with big swathes of purple foxgloves springing up in the most unexpected places.

Foxgloves

Foxgloves

If by chance they arrive where you don’t want them, just dig ’em up and plant them somewhere else.

I think most people know I like wild primroses.

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Dinky little plants with lovely yellow flowers in early spring. If you’re lucky you can get the pink form which is also lovely. You can’t just go and dig up wild flowers in England. Big fines if you’re caught. So I collect the seed which is legal. Not all of it, just enough for what I want. I pot the seeds up, they start to grow, plant them out and hey presto, loads of plants for nothing. Again, brilliant. Or you can take cuttings from your existing plants, pot them up and once again, a short time later, free plants! Herbaceous perennials are the best though. Buy one (or three), plant it immediately and enjoy the flowers. Then a year or two later, dig it up, divide it into two or three bits and replant. Then two or three years later dig each bit out again and divide it again. Bloody marvellous.

One year it wasn't there, the next it was! I did absolutely nothing.

One year it wasn’t there, the next it was! I did absolutely nothing.

The thing to never forget though is that no matter how much you enjoy the physical labour of gardening and the associated aches and pains, take time to actually look at your garden or (someone elses) and enjoy it.

A bit of our garden

A bit of our garden

Have a lovely day.

More Dick soon.auto

 

Protocols

I’m new to blogging and I’m amazed to find that other people are following my blog. I thank you all for taking the time to read my stuff. I appreciate it. I follow a number of other blogs such as rachelbeingchatty which now features 15% more sarcasm. It’s certainly sarcastic, very funny, the chatty rachel is prolific, it’s taught me that brevity is good and it just generally cracks me up. I also follow blogbloggerbloggest for entirely different reasons but it too has it’s humerous moments but tends to be more educational. For instance, did you know wasps teleport? Steve Morris, the author of this blog is also a very positive kind of guy. Despite all the mayhem and chaos in the world he was still able to list a whole bunch of reasons to be cheerful and I like that in a person. Then there’s Storytime with John, Nothing Was Said and 2HelpfulGuys plus others that I follow and enjoy. Now here’s the thing. Storytime with John has over 11,000 followers! John tries to follow all those who follow him. Great idea but it must take forever to do that. My question is if someone writing a blog reads yours and decides to follow you, do you therefore have to follow theirs? Am I obligated to return the favour? I don’t know. I don’t have a problem with following other blogs if thats what the done thing is but I’ve got to say that one or two of the blogs that have decided to follow me hold absolutely no interest for me whatsoever. That is not to say they are badly written or have no value. It’s just the subject matter that holds no interest for me. Much as I want to broaden my horizons there is only so much horizon I can take in.

So all you hugely experienced bloggers out there, please let me know what the protocol is. There are enough people out there ticked off with me already. I don’t want any more.

More of the old Dick soon.

Dick_Dastardly

Wasps

wasp

The common wasp. Not my favourite creature

I’m not terribly fond of wasps. Horrible, aggressive little blighters. I was recently reading a post by Steve Morris about how do wasps get into your house. He reckons they teleport in and out. I’m inclined to go along with that because they just suddenly appear and just as quickly disappear again, How else can they do that. I blame the Vulcans. You can find Steve at blogbloggerbloggest. Good stuff.

I’ve been stung twice by wasps and both times it happened I got into trouble.

The first time was a good time ago. I was an Inbetweener aged about 17. One summer my best friend, Omar and I had slung our surf kayaks on the roof rack of his Morris Traveller and gone down to west Wales looking for big waves and girls.

sun_croyde_038a

A surf kayaker. Lots of fun

One morning I clambered out of my tent and looked around. It was a beautiful sunny day and the surf looked pretty good. I decided to put my boots on, take a stroll up to the headland, have breakfast, chill out and then go and catch some waves. So I pulled on my boots and as I finished double knotting the laces, ZAP, ZAP, ZAP! Something was stinging my foot. To paraphrase Woody in  Toy Story There was a wasp in my boot! Panic! My laces were double knotted, it would take ages to undo them and in the meantime the wasp continued to sting. I was leaping about, my hair flying all over the place and I was shouting and hollering. I decided to stamp on my foot to kill the bugger. So I started stamping away. Other people on the campsite were climbing out of their tents to see what the commotion was all about. I must have looked like some kind of whirling Dervish! Eventually, the stinging stopped so I sat down to take off my boot and survey the damage. As my boot came off, two things happened. First, the bloody wasp flew out of my boot completely unharmed and second, a big hand grabbed my shoulder and a voice said,

“Hello, hello hello. What’s going on here then boyo?”

It was the local plod who had decided to take a look at these hippy surfers and had seen me doing a war dance. I tried to explain what had happened but to my dismay he said,

“Look you boyo. I am arresting you for suspicion of being under the influence of mind altering narcotics and suspicion of being in possession of mind altering narcotics. Anything you say…….etc etc Tidy.”

WTF! I tried to protest my innocence but I wasn’t exactly coherent, my foot hurt and the evidence had flown off. I showed him my foot and explained that I’d been stung several times by a wasp.

“That’s what they all say boyo. You’re nicked. Tidy.”

“What they all say?” I thought. “Are they plagued by wasps round here?”

“I’m taking you to the police station so the police doctor can carry out an examination. I will also be carrying out a cavity search boyo.”

WTF! I remember thinking to myself (and remember I was only 17),

“Cavity search? What have my teeth got to do with this? Who is this bloke? Is he some kind of amateur dentist? It’s my foot he needs to be looking at not checking my oral hygiene.”

Upshot of all this was that I was cuffed and put in the back of the coppers panda car and driven miles to the local nick which turned out to be the house where he lived with a couple of rooms converted into cells. A large elderly bloke  with the reddest nose I’d ever seen was waiting for us. Turns out he was the local GP who moonlighted as the police doctor and by the look of him was also the local coroner, mortician, funeral director, Baptist minister and publican. He plainly had the place all sewn up.

Nothing wrong with my teeth. Nice and clean and sparkly. These aren’t mine by the way. I have my own.

I was taken into a room where the doc examined my foot for a few minutes. Then he turned to the policeman and started to clear his throat for about five minutes. Then the copper started clearing his throat.

“Crikey!” I thought. “I hope that’s not catching. Hadn’t TB been eradicated?” Obviously in rural parts of Wales it hadn’t.

Turns out they were talking in Welsh.

The copper turned to me and said

“Doc says you’ve been stung multiple times on the foot by an insect. Probably a wasp he reckons so you’re free to go boyo.”

No apology. Nothing!

So I asked him how I was going to get back and was told,

“The police aren’t a cab service. You’ll have to get a bus back. Next one’s at 10 o’clock tomorrow.”

english-police-1970

Would you let this man examine your teeth?

Brilliant! So I started limping back. Only 7 miles. Half way back I saw Omar heading towards me. He’d got lost trying to get to where I was. By the time we got back it was too late to surf. So we gave it a miss, ate some food and smoked some of our stash of mind altering narcotics! Tidy.

The second time was more recent although it was still 13 or 14 years ago. I was recently divorced and was out with Ed and Greg at football training one sunday morning. Ed was probably 6 or 7 and Greg about 3 or 4. On the way back to what was now their home, something came in through the car window and hit me on the head. I looked around but couldn’t see what is was that had hit me. I asked the boys if anything had gone in the back but they hadn’t seen anything. So I continued on my way and forgot all about it. We pulled up outside their new house and bailed out of the car. As I stood up I discovered what had hit me on the head and also exactly where it had landed. It was a bloody wasp and it had landed on my inner thigh, right at the top. And boy was it ticked off! It stung me right on the soft fleshy bit.

“Fuck” I gasped.

“What does fuck mean Dad?” said Greg.

“Ahhh. Ask your mum son.” I replied. Big mistake! I thought he’d forget.

So I drop the boys off, say goodbye and drive off again. Three minutes later my phone rang. It was PIL. Boy did she bend my ear!

“Why is Greg asking me what ‘Fuck’ means you idiot. Have you no self control. He’s three for Gods sake blah blah blah……….”

Bloody wasps. Nothing but trouble.

Have a nice day

More Dick soon.auto

Dick