Saturday 8th July 2023

Dear Diary,

Remember me, your creator the houseboy? What do you mean no? That’s fame for you, here today, gone tomorrow, or in my case, never there at all.

So, here we are in July already. Time gallops by. In my portion of Old Blighty the weather has been much like fame, fickle and apt to turn nasty at any moment. June was relatively cold to begin with and then we had a few hot days. As I write, the sun is shining and humidity building to unbearable levels. I feel like I’m in a swamp. The weather shamans have predicted apocalyptic thunderstorms, which means we might have a crack of thunder, a flash of lightening and a heavy downpour for several seconds. It hasn’t stopped Dick playing with his balls, golf balls that is. You’d have to cut off his hands to stop him handling balls, golf, his own, Shane’s and mine.

It being summer, most of my time is spent outdoors, making everything beautiful with hindrance from ZZ. Slugs and snails decimated some dwarf sunflowers and chrysanthemums we planted in one of the front borders (we were going for a golden theme with orange and yellow hues.) ZZ wanted to nuke the little shits from the face of the earth with chemical compounds. I did feel tempted to be honest when I saw the damage they’d done virtually overnight. I just don’t like killing things and also worry about the knock on effect. Kill a gastropod with chems and you might set off a chain reaction. Birds are in short enough supply without having them drop from the sky on account of eating a poisoned snail buffet. Foxes would then eat the poisoned bird and before you know it there are corpses everywhere. I favour the gather and disperse method. I pick them up, put them in a plastic box and repatriate them elsewhere. Sometimes I take them to the park and release them. They’d have to get a bus back and seeing as they don’t carry cash or cards they probably choose to stay in the park. I’m always careful to avoid the drop off points when I’m out running, in case they recognise me and try to take me down.

I may have qualms about killing things, but the men folk don’t. And I don’t mean them wanting to wring my neck on a regular basis. We had a black ant invasion last weekend. They were swarming all over the kitchen. It was horrific. I mean there are trillions of them in the garden. ZZ reckons it’s a sign of climate change, as there never used to be so many in the UK. He reckons drier conditions cause them to thrive. Like I said, trillions in the garden, but apart from the odd few visitors we hadn’t had any real bother in the house, until last weekend. A few days prior to the main invasion I’d noticed one or two of the little blighters on the windowsill or on the kitchen floor, but thought nothing of it. I just flicked them outside. Then, on Sunday last, we came home from an afternoon at Leo’s to find some twat had painted the kitchen black, because that’s what it looked like. The little fuckers were everywhere. It was a revolting sight. I nearly puked up the roast dinner I’d eaten.

The Scene:

“How did they get in?” Dick, looking as repulsed as I felt, retreated to the kitchen threshold, ready to flee at any moment should the ants try to colonise him.

“Never mind how they got in,” I wailed, unwilling to admit I’d left a kitchen window ajar, “how are we going to get them out? There’s so many.”

Shane snarled. “If you think I’m conducting an evacuation mission you can think again. Where’s the ant spray?”

“Er, we haven’t got any.”

“Ant powder?”


“Jesus wept, Gilli. Have you got anything that’ll kill them, fly spray or something?”


“Don’t be ridiculous. We need to kill them, not give them a high gloss. Get the hoover.”

“You can’t hoover them up, it’s cruel.”

“What do you want me to do, adopt them. You’re a big enough pest. I don’t want a house full of them. Hoover. Now.”

“I’ve got it.” Dick thrust the Dyson into the kitchen, while maintaining a safe distance.

Shane swung into action, Seeing as the shops were shut, he directed Dick to call Leo, who’d had serious bug bother himself in the past, to ask if he had any spare ant killing products. Of course he did, and Dick was despatched to fetch it. Shane turned terminator. Powering up the Dyson he began cutting swathes through the insects. I fled, declaring I couldn’t stand by and witness such cruel carnage. It genuinely upset me. I took refuge in the lounge.

I have to say it took bloody hours to get rid of the ants. It was horrendous. Just as we thought we’d succeeded, more turned up. I found some in the cornflakes on Monday morning. Dick was horrified. Poor sod went to work without any brekkie. The cornflakes went in the bin along with every other cereal box in the cupboard. I went on a manic cleaning spree after that with not a spot in the kitchen left unchecked and cleaned.

Shane tried to suggest I was responsible for the invasion because not only had I left the window open (ajar, Shane, I left it ajar) but I’d also left a half eaten doughnut on a plate next to the sink. Ants love sweet sugary stuff, he said, and I’d more or less invited them in to dine. His inference that I kept a slovenly kitchen made me mount my high horse I can tell you. I soon put him right. A bit of leftover Krispy Kreme (saved for later) might have attracted an ant or two, but not several bloody battalions of them. I’d have had to leave out dozens. It was clear we’d fallen victim to an early swarm with a queen seeking to form a new colony. KK had nothing to do with it. It was weather conditions and a daft queen ant with no sense of direction.

Weather conditions or KK, Shane isn’t taking any chances. The cupboard under the sink is now home to an ant-killing arsenal of sprays, powders, traps and baits. The quasi mansion is a no ant zone. Fingers crossed they get the message and stay outside.

Don’t tell Shane, but I’ve got a new Dyson on order. Every time I use the current one I’m swept back to the killing fields of the kitchen. I fancy I hear little ant ghosts whispering reproach every time I plug it in. It creeps me out.  I’ve ordered one of the fancy pant cordless models. The corded ones are hard to come by now. It cost a bomb, but it’ll be worth it not to suffer flashbacks every time I hoover.

Well I’ve had my gobshite head on today. I’m sweating like an ox because it’s so hot and I fancy I can hear a rumble of thunder in the distance, so time to scram. We’re off on holiday on Monday so I have a lot to organise. Before I go, let me just say thank you for the birthday greetings some of you sent last month. Appreciated. 

Ciao for now, peeps.


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