Wasps & a near death experience

For the last week or so Beanie’s become increasingly obsessed with catching insects, or more specifically, wasps. Sooner or later she was going to get stung, so we kept trying to shoo her away from her favorite wasp hunting location on our deck. Then it dawned on us that there did seem to be a lot of wasp activity around the house – far more than in the garden as a whole. Susan sat and watched the wasps for a few minutes and saw them disappearing into, then re-emerging from, the ventilation holes in our walls and our patio doors. The area around the patio doors was covered in tiny white PVC shavings, and on closer examination it became apparent that the wasps were actually going inside the door frames. A quick google session indicated that they were probably establishing nests inside our walls and the doors, and for the sake of our dogs we had to do something about it. The most commonly suggested course of action was to get some ant powder and cover the wasp’s preferred entry/exit points with it. The idea is that the workers get covered in the stuff as they go about their nest-building activities and eventually transfer some of the powder to the queen. Once she dies, it’s all over.

We gave it a go, and it worked astonishingly well. We kept the pups away from the treated areas for 24 hours or so; the powder is supposed to be child/pet safe but what’s betting Beanie would’ve been snorting it like cocaine if we’d let her near it! By the end of that period all visible wasp activity had stopped – problem solved!

So much for the wasps, now for the Near Death Experience. After this morning’s walk we put the pups in their beds and headed out on our bikes. We had intended to just go up one of the nearby cycle tracks for half an hour then head back, but we ended up up doing pretty much the whole “New Town Trail” around Irvine, stopping off at Eglinton Park for a coffee.

We’d had a break from cycling over the winter months but my recently acquired riding ability hadn’t deteriorated at all – in fact on today’s ride I accomplished a number of highly demanding manoeuvers:

  • wiping the sweat from my brow
  • prolonged nose scratching with either hand
  • extracting a Kleenex from my pocket and blowing my nose whilst still turning the pedals

I was especially proud of the nose blowing. I’ve occasionally watched footage of the Tour de France and I’ve never once seen any of those so-called expert cyclists whipping a snot rag from their shorts and purging their nasal orifices. Admittedly they do go a bit faster than me but still…

Anyway, it turns out the old adage about pride coming before a fall is true. My fall happened as we approached an uphill bit in Eglinton Park and I tried to switch gear. Somehow I messed it up and parted company with my bike. My life didn’t exactly flash before me but during the fall everything slowed down – just like “bullet time” in The Matrix. When I recovered my wits I realized that I had severed my left arm at the shoulder, but being such a hardy mountain biker I just pulled the laces out of my trainers and sewed it back on. OK, that last part is a slight exaggeration, but my injuries were truly horrific – just look:



That graze on my little finger is the worst. It could cause me considerable discomfort if I try to access the lower 30% of a packet of salt & vinegar crisps (“potato chips” to our US friends). It’s going to be hard going, but I figure I’ll make a full recovery eventually.