The Wasps and The Ivy

Struggling a little with sore throat that might well become a raging ‘flu.
Struggling too with paperwork generated by recent allotment committee meetings.
It’s becoming a fine sun-warmed day outside. I long to be on the plot: autumn digging calls, but duty and the need to pamper my aching body (all sympathy genuinely received folks) is the better part of valour – well, so far at least.
But outside the double-glazed patio doors the ivy-in-need-of-trimming that sprawls luxuriously over the six foot high timber fence is brimming with slick, glossy dark leaves and discreet flowers. And overwhelmed by insects.
A season battered comma butterfly clinging on to the bloom. Another day of life really does depend on it for this banner winged stalwart. A great year for butterflies and moths – eventually, and I have been pleased to see so many more commas here this year than for a long, long time.
But there is a large number of wasps, displaying their mastery of flight in the fitful autumn breath breezes that rag-tag wrestle across the ready-for-a-final-cut – I sincerely hope –lawn. Two of the wasps are vivid and large. My guess is that they are queens and will soon be looking for a hibernation niche somewhere. Often they over-winter in our shed, but once or twice in the back bedroom in the curtains.
There was the angry sound and fury of a police helicopter over the fields earlier. I have always been astounded by the manoeuvrability of helicopters; this one was going through the range and the wind that seeks to confound the wasps bought used snatches of air-show volume sound as the machine went through the whole range, including flying backwards while tipped nose down forward.
But these min-replicas are in a class of their own. There is no aggression. They circle, bob and land. As if playing some game of tag that I don’t have the rules for.
But in the full-glare warmth of the sun there are hosts of what I have always thought of as house flies: blue and green bottles, flashing their jewelled abdomens in the outside world, lumbering amongst the mass of small midges that are resident.
There are gales forecast.
I have onions to string, there will be windfalls to collect and paperwork to complete, but the few moments lively distraction has been good for my soul.
Back to the grind, glad not to be a wasp with the winds and cold coming.


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