Monday, 22 August 2011

My way or the highway!

Today's tale was going to be a gloat about how lucky I am to have the opportunity to forsake Vic and walk over the Bonsai Mountain and in to work.

Especially on day like today when the sun is shining, the sky is blue (mostly) and the birds are singing in the trees. Some of the birdsong is drowned out by the sound of Rocky panting like an asthmatic steam train, but you get the idea.

My heart sang (poetry this is poetry) and seeing the embryonic forest school where a dread locked youth leader gathered all the little children, like he from Hamlin, around him and told them what adventures they were going to have playing amongst the trees, all was well in my world. A new generation of tree huggers were in the making and from what I could see they were intent on making the biggest bivvies ever. Gone were the risks of the long distance commute, no more suicidal ponies in the dark, no yellow micra drivers who think Vics side of the road is better than theirs and so use it while Vic was (I still have no idea how we avoided a head on crash, other than it wasn't my time)and heavy duty tyre use, monster fuel bill and so on. Walking was great. Virtually risk free.

Virtually. The walk home revealed a previously unforeseen and extremely painful one.

This is the view from the Whet Stone looking toward the Bonsai Mountain, my route home the path leading down the left, around the other side, Rock HQ. What cannot be seen along the path is a silver shimmer in the grass. As I walked I could see first hundred, then thousands, tens of thousands, no millions of red ants with wings, their sole purpose in life to fly far from the nest and set up another colony. As I marvelled at this wonder of nature I pondered for a second whether Hergest was one big anthill, but that was folly, how extraordinary to see such a gathering, they were along every step of the path, all crawling amongst the grass trying to gain a lift off point. Ha! You car drivers dont get to see a sight like this ever!

As I passed they must have taken the sudden appearance of a sweaty fat bloke as a sign from the great (but probably small) god of ants, this is what they had been waiting for. Suddenly each step caused a ripple effect amongst the winged population and they took to the air en masse. This would itself have been amazing had it not been for the fact that many of the flying ants, intent on furthering the ambitions of the colony by finding the ideal nesting site on landing, found that what they had landed on was less than favourable, sweating and mobile. This caused annoyance and they vented their fury by stinging yours truly as hard and as often as they could. Having survived a swarm of wasps recently I was not going to be taken down by a lesser insect, however the ants were winning by sheer weight of numbers and an uncanny ability to find gaps in clothing. I ran like an Olympic flagellant, fresh clouds of soon to be angry ants billowed around me with each thunderous footstep. Eventually my rapid descent took me from the danger zone but the damage was done, bathed in ant acid I made Rock HQ looking a bit different.
Oh my God what happened to you is not the standard greeting from Tracey my beautiful and oh so patient wife (actually to be honest she says more often than most wives have to, fell off mountain bike, fell off gallery landing, got chased by wasps and others) but an indicator to the facial stings. I gibbered something about ants but she could see as there were still some determined specimens eager to go down fighting. Ordered to shower I meekly did as I was told while my clothes were bagged up as a bio hazard and incinerated.

Lets see what tomorrows walk brings!


Anonymous said...


I still think I'd take the ants over Micra man though.

Tony said...

Me too :) I am told that if left alone in an empty room I could still find a way of hurting myself....

Johan said...

Well, you're not alone: according to the 'Statistical Abstract of the United States' something like 500,000 Americans are being injured every year by beds, mattresses or pillows. Over 130,000 people fail at sitting or lying on a sofa, couch or davenport and 205,000 are hurt by household packaging and containers...
(You should read Bill Bryson’s book: I’m a Stranger Here Myself)
Take care !

Tony said...

Bill Bryson, my hero:) A walk in the woods, what a tale that is!