What the GIGANTIC flaming doodah.
I have not been having a great time lately, as you will/could/may have surmised by my lack of blog posting*, first there was THE HEAT and then there was MORE HEAT and then when the heat slacked off a little last week I had stomach flu which of course brought the ME back again full roar, with teeth and hobnailed boots. And now it’s hot again, and it’s due to be hot all week. JOY. LACK OF JOY.** And then . . .
Yesterday was the first morning [sic] I woke up feeling that I might have a little energy again.*** As I leaped lightly out of bed% I heard a strange buzzing noise. I hope that’s happening outdoors, I said to myself, applying a double handful of water to my hair and then running my fingers emphatically through it in an attempt to make it behave.%%
The buzzing noise was not happening outdoors. I came downstairs to HUNDREDS of houseflies battering themselves against all my ground-floor windows and entwining themselves unlovingly in the dishtowels, the pot and pan handles, houseplants, furniture legs, backpack straps, and anything else entwinable. HUNDREDS. I AM NOT JOKING. HUUUUUNDREDS. IT WAS DISGUSTING. Also scary and overwhelming. Even houseflies are scary if there are enough of them. And I have no idea where they came from.%%%
I killed I don’t know how many and then went screaming off to the ironmongers/hardware shop for anything they had for houseflies, and they said oh, that’s interesting, several people have been in today with exactly the same problem. I can’t decide if this is reassuring or not. Well, yes, it is a little reassuring, it suggests that my personal non-Egyptian plague is not because I am a Limb of Satan& and attracting his creatures&&, but then I just shift mindset into wondering what’s going on with the world. Climate and global warming and malaria in southern England etc. And housefly explosions aren’t restricted to New Arcadia either—I wrote an email to a friend in Broceliande about other business and included mention of my hideous domestic assault and she wrote back by return electron saying OMG THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED TO ME TODAY. And Broceliande is ten or so miles from here.
So, you’re saying, hundreds? I can hear your lips curling. NO. I AM NOT EXAGGERATING FOR EFFECT.&&& There mostly isn’t room to swing a swatter in this house, which is small and ahem ahem ahem crowded$, so I do most of my target-and-destroy with tissues, and I am telling you my strike rate is very good, especially for a crazy old lady shaking with fury/terror at an ugly crawling dystopian susurration of frelling houseflies. I get three or four flies per tissue$$. I started yesterday with a box of 100 tissues over half full; by the end of the day I was over halfway through a new box. Plus the twenty or fifty I killed with the swatter—the dozen or twenty I frelling stepped on—the additional twenty or so tissues, at three-four corpses per, which I grabbed from other boxes around the house in my mad frenzy—and the twenty or thirty of the enemy that the nearly useless rubbish I bought at the ironmongers caught.$$$ You do the maths.
And . . . any readers of the old blog who might conceivably be thinking, there was an unusually hot dry summer a few years ago@ when, don’t we remember, there was an indoor invasion of BATS? YES. NOW SHUT UP AND THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS ABOUT RAIN.@@
* * *
* And for which the usual apologies with a few extra curlicues to add interest. I really AM going to get back to posting REGULARLY—really I am—but if this weather is a forecast of summers to come I may have to double up over the winter and take the summers off.
** So, you know, anyone who has been wondering if maybe I’m not posting because I, perhaps, ran off to Japan, where it’s true it’s even hotter but everywhere is AIR CONDITIONED, and have been having a little difficulty setting up my on line life because I don’t speak the language, um, no. I don’t actually like air conditioning, and while if it’s either that or death by rays it’s the obvious better choice, I’d rather just live somewhere I can survive in the real world. Which I admit is looking a little dicey in southern England.
*** My Japanese lesson this week, tomorrow, is going to be frankly embarrassing. I should be studying right now, but while the brain is enough back on line to write a blog post—well, I think—the Memory for New Things is not working at all.
% CRASH. OW. I wake up slowly with optional bruising.
%% The air is as dry as Palaeolithic bones buried in the desert and my hair IS STILL STANDING ON END. One of the additional reasons I liked the old, cool, damp, mizzly England is because damp made my previous hair fuzz up in a semi-semi-semi-Pre-Raphaelite way. I’m afraid to think what the new hair^ is going to look like if we revert to damp and mizzly.^^ It is settling down sort of as it gets longer, but it gets longer very slowly partly because it keeps insisting on corkscrewing at the ends.^^^
^ About which there is NO TRACE of Pre Raphaelite influence, even in my imagination.
^^ WHATEVER. IT’LL BE WORTH IT. COOL, DAMP AND MIZZLY, PLEEEEEEEZ.
^^^ Which curled-up knots I keep seeing out of the corners of my eyes and thinking OMG I HAVE BUMBLEBEES LIVING IN MY HAIR. But it’s still frelling long enough that today when Atlas has been painting the door frame and I went out the door very carefully, but, partly because I still haven’t adjusted to the new hair standing on end sideways, when I turned my head to shut the door behind me MY HAIR SWUNG OUT AND CLANGED INTO THE WET DOORFRAME ARRRRRRRGH. Also ouch as I ripped free. Never mind, a thread of white, even if it’s doorframe paint, is not going to be noticed in this elderly mixed-media briar patch. The door frame is fine.
%%% We used to have dramatic outbreaks of those big horrible bluebottles at the old house, which always meant that something had died in one of the chimneys and we hadn’t noticed. In a house that size, when we only lived in part of it, it was easier than you think to miss a dead jackdaw in a chimney, especially when the bottom is blocked up and you thought the top was also blocked up.
However I have a special memory of picking up the phone one Saturday to hear the somewhat stressed voice of one of Peter’s daughters-in-law^ saying, we have a sudden eruption of big nasty bluebottle flies, do you have any ideas, and I said promptly, look for something that’s died, for example up an unused chimney, and she said I knew you’d know.
But in a house the size of this cottage, I would know about something that had died in the chimney, there being only one chimney, and it centrally located, included an un-blocked-up—except by a large chest of drawers because there’s nowhere else to put it—hearth in my bedroom. And these aren’t bluebottles—they’re ordinary gross little buzzy houseflies. Gazillions of them.
^ I do often call Peter’s grandchildren my stepgrandchildren—the last four were born after I joined the family after all—but his kids and their spouses are way nearer my age than I am Peter’s. His eldest is a year and a half younger than I am, and his youngest twelve years younger. I think I sound like a dork calling them my stepchildren, so I don’t.
& Readers of the old blog may remember that I have been termed such by the Right Wing Christian Loony division. More than once. And while I think they’re off their collective rocker, it’s still unpleasant and uncomfortable and unsettling. Including worrying about how they’re raising the children who are forbidden to read my books because I am a Limb, etc.
&& Mostly I don’t kill things if I can help it. There are a few exceptions. Houseflies. Mosquitoes. Cockroaches, but you don’t get those outside of cities—yet. Although I’m starting to sweat the wasps: I’ve just put my third in two days outdoors. My lovely new Waspinator isn’t working this year, unless the wasps are more reckless than usual because of the weather? I wouldn’t blame them. But I still don’t want them indoors. Whimper.
&&& Given my somewhat regular use of vivid language, you would be forgiven for thinking I might be.
$ I was telling Hannah this story last night and at that point she laughed.^
^ Also Chaos doesn’t like the noise the swatter makes. It makes him creep into his crate and look at me reproachfully. He can cope with the imprecations that are a necessary component to fly-squashing but not that whistling thwacking noise. Well honeybun you could help. Darkness used to catch flies. Good protein source, he’d say, licking his lips, I have the stomach enzymes to cope. And Chaos used to catch a few, apparently because Darkness did. He doesn’t any more. And all the frelling hellterror does is wag her gorblimey frelling tail when I kneel on the floor, tissues poised for attack, next to where she’s toasting herself in the extreme sunlight crashing through the kitchen door, because those bottom panes are favourites with bombinating plagues.#
# Also, where are all those frelling spiders one had lovingly saved from drowning in the bath, when one needs them?! The only one I saw all day in this spider-prone house was hanging dead at the end of its own frelling web thread. Arrrrrrgh. Spider history does not record if it died of horror, as if the hamburger on your plate rose up, cloned itself a gazillion times and came after you, or of joy, lost in a mansion made of brownies and lemon meringue pie, and all its architectural struts glasses of champagne.
$$ I got to six once. Not seven. But then I’m not a tailor and can’t make myself a belt, and besides I don’t want to marry a princess, so that’s okay.^
^ I suppose it depends on the princess.
$$$ I know that flypaper is useless, but it seems like such a good idea, till you watch the flies ignoring it. I also bought two kinds of toxic ick, that you put on your windowsill or stick to the windows, but since I’m not seeing any belly-up flies on the floor that I didn’t put there by my swift and deadly hand, I’m going to take the lot down again. I don’t like using poison, I was just frantic.
@ Although I wish to point out not nearly as long, hot and dry as this one
@@ Anyone reading the weather reports knows this is seriously not a joke. As an organic junkie who furthermore tries to keep her stomping-the-planet footprint small, I’m wondering what’s going to happen to food availability when this summer settles down into whatever autumn is going to be. The standing crops around here are not only half the height they should be, they’re white-gold rather than gold-brown—very pretty, but I can’t believe there’s any nutritional value in them?—and a lot of them have already been cut and baled, which shouldn’t be happening for a month yet. We had a big field fire near here a week or so ago and there is way too good a likelihood of more, and if we have more than one at a time, we’re not going to have the firefighters. And that doesn’t address food prices next year. Prices for some of the luxury seasonable veg are already off any chart my bank balance can follow. And think of the poor wild critters trying to survive—and I assume some of the domestic-fodder ones that are going to have to be slaughtered early.