Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Can I have a pet?

We're currently being stalked by grasshoppers...I'm not sure what we've done to upset them. Last week a survey of the numerous spiderswebs which afflcit our house revealed a VERY LARGE bug with long feelers hiding on the coving of the sitting room. From where I stood, it could have been anything...but certainly didn't seem like the sort of creature that should be in joint residence with us.

Spiders are slightly different..they are just damned persistent, and it doesn't matter how often we sweep away the cobwebs, they just keep coming back...strange though, because there never seems to be any flies around for them to eat. But then perhaps that's why. None the less, if there are any spiders reading this I just want to say that I don't want another occasion of pulling back the bed covers to be faced with a spider scurrying down the underside of the duvet. Please.

Ants are different again - we have an annual invasion, first seen when the boy left a mostly eaten melon on the living room floor one evening. As I rose from the sofa to ascend to Bedford, I noticed that the melon had ceased to be entirely yellow, sporting rather fetching dotted black lines which moved in a slightly hypnotic fashion. Many cans of fly killer, ant killer and killer killer later, the earth was sporting a much larger hole in the ozone, but at least we were free from ants...inside the house at least. Since then it's been the Battle of the Somme...there's almost certainly a nest in the wall, but persuading a builder to come and remove enough bricks so we can nuke them has just elicited the response that "They'll only come back".

With a degree of trepidation I stood on a chair, reached up and managed to sweep the surprisingly docile creature into a glass. This operation was carried out rather more successfully than when we had a seagull fall down the chimney of the Brighton flat. He'd been there a few days before we came for the weekend, and had wreaked the sort of devastation that now makes my lip curl if anyone ever says it's lucky to have a bird crap on you. Jonthan Livingstone was removed eventually by throwing a large towel over him and then gently offering him up to an open window. Having captured our mini-beastie we decided, in the short term at least, to keep him as a pet called John (not my choice). He stayed long enough for us to decide that he was indeed a very lost grasshopper, although ex-girlfriend, our oft-called on entomologist unhelpfully claimed that he was 'gigantus green fliius'. As he was the size of my thumb, I suspect he is suffering the same cause of obesity that now afflicts the majority of the UK's population (am I wrong in my statistics there?).

Since then there's been a second one in the bathroom, in early stages of death, and now one behind my desk at work in the later stages of mumification. I swear I've never been so close to wildlife before.

We liked having a pet. But inspite of repeated requests, it's the only one we're ever likely to have...I grew up with many dogs, many more cats and a smattering of rabbits, guinea pigs and gerbils, not to mention a fish tank and loved each aned every one of them. But I know who will have to take the dog out for a walk every night, who'll have to go searching for a dead cat squashed by a car on the nearby road...and indeed who would look after creature when we holiday.

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