Lady B's no-nonsense banter from Cirencester Park

I’m petrified of buzzing insects, mainly wasps and hornets, so the month of September is always one that I enjoy just a little less, only because of their presence.

Perhaps I had a traumatic childhood experience my mother hasn’t yet had the courage to tell me about. Perhaps it’s the fact I have rather a lot of hair, and the thought of getting an angry wasp entangled in it doesn’t bear thinking about. But I’m truly terrified of them.

I know it’s silly – and I’m forever being told that ‘they mean me no harm’ – but I remain sceptical and absolutely positive they are in fact mean and spiteful, and will sting you because they feel like it, and it amuses them.

If you’ve ever seen the sketch by the brilliant Michael McIntyre when he talks about bees and wasps, (if you haven’t, please look it up on YouTube; it’s hilarious), you’ll recall he talks about people dealing with buzzing insects in one of three ways.

‘The Wafters’ (Category 1) merely waft away the offending invader in that gentle, yet firm manner, moving the air about their heads, not wishing to cause distress.

‘The Stay-Stillers’ are in Category 2. My husband is a ‘stay-stiller’ and refuses to be alarmed by them. He sits perfectly still and allows them to go about their business. I envy his self-discipline; you wouldn’t see me for dust.

Then there’s Category 3 – ‘The Panickers’ – which is most definitely me, and it’s because of that panic I’ve actually broken bones.

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Some years ago, I was relaxing on a sun lounger in our garden, when a wasp decided to land on my leg. My reaction was immediate and violent. I slapped my thigh hard to dislodge it, and in the same movement lurched from my sunbed, which was reasonably low.

As I got up, convinced I was about to receive a sting, I tripped and measured my length in spectacular style. To make it even worse, in the confusion I forgot to break my fall and my hand remained under my body, receiving the full weight of the descent. Not only did I wind myself, but I also broke two fingers, resulting in a visit to our wonderful local hospital.

As I recounted the sorry tale to the attending nurse, I had to admire her resilience in keeping a straight face. I can well imagine the mirth as she shared the story with her colleagues later on over coffee.

On another occasion, my husband and I were enjoying an al fresco lunch at a local pub on one of the benches in their pretty garden. You’ll know the ones where the seats are attached to the table, and you have to climb over them in order to be able to sit down.

It was only a matter of time before a wasp arrived and started to pay close attention to my plate.

I did my absolute best to be a ‘Stay-Stiller’, but in order to remain as distant as I physically could, and being unable to escape, I leant further and further back, with the inevitable consequence of disappearing from view as I lost my balance and fell backwards off the bench.

I know I should appreciate our wasps and hornets have a place in our ecology and give them the respect they deserve, but I shall be heartily relieved when they hibernate again.

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