I’ve been wasped.

Today is autumn. It’s (relatively) warm, but dark and with belting winds and lashing rain. It’s delicious.

Yesterday was summer. Hot, a bit humid, windless.

There I was, silly-walking along the towpath, minding my own business, and I came upon the lock landings and the queue to go up through Cholmondeston Lock, my only thought being how to distance myself and avoid breathing in the fetid used air and bottom-burps of the (putatively, potentially, diseased-) beasts.

That was the moment when a wasp decided to dive, wholly uninvited, down my shirt collar, sting me on the back of my neck and then, after I’d danced the St Vitus’ Waltz and the Sydenham’s Chorea Foxtrot, reappear out of my left sleeve cuff, whereupon I settled diplomatic matters with a size 11 boot.

First time they’ve got me since nineteen sixty-five, and that one I sat upon. The location of the repeat offensive could have been improved. Someone else’s neck, perhaps. Not alongside an eager and mixed audience would have been good; somewhere that I might have whipped off the old Savile Row-tailored cheesecloth and fought the beast on more equal terms.

No idea what I’d done to offend. Mind you, I seem to offend universally, and it must be noted that I can begin an argument alone in a telephone box with no loose change.

Shan’t be going out today. Not because of the Indigenous/Native Wasp Nation, but because Storm St Francis of Asoaky prevails, and there’s a gale blowing, and rain does so get in one’s ear-‘oles.

There’s little so socially demeaning as a rain-drop whizzing into one’s left ear-‘ole, only to appear totally unimpeded from the right.

No, I shall sit inside, wearing a dab of vinegar on my wound and bearing a grudge, producing Molotov Cocktails and searching the horizon with my powerful official-issue field glasses, looking for the heart of the Wasp Nation, so that I can raze it to the ground. This ends when I say it ends.

The Duck Nation is banging on the side of the Cardinal’s hull. Supposedly they are eating the weed that grows at the waterline, but in fact they’re just banging, demanding food. It’s not going to work, chaps. I suggest that they swim on and look for a boat named ‘Duck-Soup Kitchen’.

Hmm. Perhaps not. Hyphens are so important, aren’t they? So little-used too, these enlightened, snowflake days. nb Duck Soup-Kitchen perhaps.

Oh I don’t know though.

We’ve got an extra line out (the winds were forecast to be off the towpath), extra bungees on the rear cover (only just removed those from the previous blow) and everything loose is removed or tied down. The solar panels won’t get much of a chance to feed today, methinks.

did manage to get fully into the engine bay yesterday (weather and Morlock-infested towpaths have precluded such for a couple of weeks prior). Domestic batteries all (both – I “only” have two, 2 x 135Ah) and Starter dipped, all happy and no topping-up required.

Stern-gland greaser refilled with stern gland-grease. Refilling time two minutes. Time to presuade the screw-top and the feeder-tube bolt back into place; twenty-five minutes and all of my best expletives. More grease wasted in the process, as usual, than went into the greaser reservoir. Climb out of the engine bay (no mean feat) and walk through to the boat with hands raised like some wandering surgeon, trying to not leave a trail. Sink cleaning after washing grease off hands, forearms and elbows; three minutes.

It’s a sign of the times when, while straddling one’s boat’s engine like Colossus over the Isuzu, and fertling in pockets to find something to wipe the oil dip-stick the best (the only) that can be found is damnable cotton face-mask…

Why, dearest Meteorlogical Office, is the wind currently blowing in exactly the opposite direction to that forecast?

If only I could make it to an empty telephone box, to start an argument.

Oh well.

Chin-chin, chaps. I do hope that wherever you are the weather is a tad more clement.

Oh my darlin’, oh my darlin’, oh my DARLIN’ CLEMENT-INE…

Ye gods, I’ve lost it again. Must be the lingering effects of the wasp sting. I’m not used to them, you know. Once every fifty-five years is more than enough, thank you.

Ian H.,&etc.

Curry for tiffin, I think.


  1. Maybe it was murder hornet, not a wasp. Because this is 2020. Don’t underestimate the wasps.

    Being the in the comfortable middle bits of the country, I’ve been able to live as though the world isn’t being blown away, on all sides of me. Including other middle bits of the country which experienced a hurricane like storm over the plains. But here in my corner, we are merely slowly being enveloped in the virus. I remember when I thought I was being pessimistic by assuming we would not be back to normal until fall. Now the optimistic are talking about 2022. I assume that we will all be dead or dying by then. Certainly we will be jobless and homeless. Because, naturally, climate change will continue to ramp up the weather disasters and of course, there’s the election… and the economic spiral of death. No. I think the only sane path is one of abject drunkenness until my liver falls out, or yellowstone volcano takes us all out of our collective misery. I rather regretted that asteroid didn’t veer in toward us, offering mercy. But not to be.

    Ian, something about your blog brings out the Eeyore in me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are all rather in The Wrong Apocalypse – I had expected by now to be busily fortifying and defending Chatsworth House or something similar, and planting next year’s crop of watermelons and cardoons in the greenhouses. Instead though we’ve got this grinding nonsense that won’t resolve and won’t go away – it’s like “Politician Heaven” x1,000 and spread thickly upon our daily bread. It’s ‘orrible.

      At least had a giant haemorrhoid from the Zog System in Sector 4B hit our planet it would have been a relatively clean ending, and should any of us have lived we might have got on with living – instead of being uncertain of everything (except the stellar incompetence of “our” “leaders”)!

      😉 Chin up, keep on keeping on – if for no other reason than it annoys the hecky heck out of all of the various micro-factions screeching at us on a daily basis!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ian, sounds like you are having a day that comes along at the most inopportune time. It’s part of the boater’s curse and for me brought on wailing, lament and wanting for all things like real flush toilets, boundless running hot water and never again having to hate standing up for fear of getting a new knot on my forehead. Hang in there my friend, we are all sending hugs. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank’ee. 🙂 Some days are meant to be, others are meant to bee – although, in this case, they sent a wasp instead. I vaguely remember flush toilets, but only vaguely…


    1. I can well imagine from your text what the photograph would have shown… and may I say that you would likely have reduced me (back to) a gibbering wreck. having eyes full to the brim of “floaters” my life at best is lived in a cloud of flying black specks, photos of the real thing do me no good at all. 😉

      My best theory is that in prehistoric times I lived only to be attacked, killed and eaten by some cow-sized insect, I dislike all such beasties with a visceral loathing that can only be some sort of “race memory” or a psychological scar from a former life – or both.

      I once saw a “documentary” telling me that there are “spider crabs” in the deep ocean today that are up to a metre across and ever since I have not only replaced the plug in every sink but put a substantial weight on top too, just in case. Ugh.


  3. Rest assured, I am not arf arguing into the palm of my hand, although not bothered by these flying firepits I would like to show you what

    has stopped action in my garden shed, I don’t know how posessive they are of garden tools and have no wish to find out

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have large buzzing things above my boat but they’re planes going all angles of hire boat to get into Liverpool airport. Never fear I’ll be back soon for story time 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ” extra bungees on the stern…” I’d have thought your ship would have needed to be at least as high-sterned as one of the god-awful floating gin palaces to offer bungee-jumping?
    Oh! wait!…By bungee, you mean a length of rope offering tethering security? Sorry, I was thinking of my compatriot’s money-maker in New Zealand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The spiders do enough bungee-dangling and jumping off the stern for anyone, there’s no need for me to add more… 😉

      The rear tonneau cover is held on by mini stretchy cord things, when it is winndy I tend to add a couple of extras to reduce flap! So far, so good (but then that’s a phrase also favoured by unattached bungee-jumpers on their way up (and down again)…


  6. Oh dear how painful. My only comparable experience was when a bee flew underneath my big toe (I was wearing open sandals at the time) and I trapped it with my next step! Had to drive home having released the dead bee and stinger. Could have been worse it was my accelerator toe and not clutch toe, but it was slow going with the Kangeroo juice in the engine. Hope you aren’t allergic and it clears up soon – put marmite on it that should kill anything infectious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used my Boy Scout First-Aid Kit and applied a Boy Scout to the wound immediately. Um, no, hang on – an alcohol wipe just in case the little beast had put dirty feet all over me, and then vinegar… seems to have worked. 😉

      Wouldn’t mind but except in extremis (when an individual won’t co-operate) I always capture and release the damn things – not any more. It’s the killing jar from now on.


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