It is officially British summer time. Normally this is a cause for sarcastic laughter in this sceptered isle, as it heralds a period of cold downpours, strong winds and generally awful conditions. With the odd ray of sun popping through. Which suits me fine, loathing as I do any hint of the thermometer going above 20 degrees centigrade. I hate being hot. I hate being slathered in factor 50 emulsion. Grass pollen is the enemy. I do not like to show any hint of skin (arms and legs included), and weep at the mere suggestion I remove my legs from their 60 denier opaques. In short, I am a true pale skinned, hairy Celt.
Alas, my usually reliably soggy Isle is letting me down. Cue the hottest week in JUne since the 1940s. Sun. Heat in excess of 25 degrees C, even in the north. Gah!
Thankfully the House of No Seasons is exactly that – a cool pale oasis in a world of naked orange flesh. The football world cup is about to begin – cue much misguided faith in the ability of English footballers to shoot straight, excessive swilling of supermarket discounted larger followed by a corresponding increase in domestic violence when our usually rain drenched players are exposed to their inadequacies in the humidity of Rio.
And the insects! Now I’ll be the first to admit our British insects are in no way scary when compared with those in – say – Australia. They’re generally not lethal for starters. But I am an allergic mess right now, and I react very badly to any insect bites or stings, which has resulted in my very odd behaviour on occasion on public transport (shoes off, dementedly braying wasps into a pulp being one example).
Now we have this cute wooden shack in a wood. For the past 4 years we’ve been rebuilding it, and have reached a stage where it’s borderline habitable. We trundled up to our little section of paradise at the weekend, undertaking an extreme weeding, cleaned out springs and streams and drains and decided to have a cup of tea on the decking. We’d noticed a few bees lurking above the shack door the weekend before, but paid no heed. The sun came round, noon hit and POW! The little blighters were everywhere. They’ve nested in the shack roof. And boy, are they angry little sods.
European tree bees. Sound cute, don’t they? Until they sit on your head and begin dive bombing you. I suspect throwing my Earl Grey at them didn’t really help, but I found myself running through our plot, down the stone steps to the wood and landing on my ass in one of the springs. Hey, play the glad game – I didn’t break my mug though I do have some splendid bruises. I looked up to see Him Underfoot being chased in the opposite direction by several more angry bees. Being giant wusses we called it a day and trekked the long way through the wood back to the car, unwilling to risk their wrath by crossing the decking again.
Now, I generally like bees. I like the true bumbling British variety that cruise about in their own little pollen-y world, harming no one. I do not like these angry invaders. However, they are protected by law, and we will leave them to swarm (apparently in July. JULY?!) as they are great pollinators before firmly sealing any remaining holes under the roofing canopy. Apparently people find their dancing outside the nest fascinating…well, I see it as a human stealth bomb warm up.
So summer. Roll on Autumn. September rocks.