Tuesday 18 January 2011

Roach for the shy

I am alone.  Just for the evening, that is, the Sage is at a meeting.  I feel more pleasure than is warranted by his absence, because he's at a PCC meeting, and I'm no longer on the PCC (this is, I should explain, the committee that runs the church.  I used to be secretary and then, for six years, churchwarden).  I have been asked if I'd be willing to rejoin at the AGM in April and I've said no.  I was forewarned that the present secretary is standing down, and I have to admit to myself that I don't want to be secretary of anything again, partly because I'd have no one to delegate to.  But I'd not do it anyway.  If anything proves to me that I made the right decision, it's the glee I feel when there's a meeting on and I don't have to go to it.

The Sage's sister gave us a tin of chocolate biscuits for Christmas.  We're quite matter-of-fact about this, we give her Stilton and she gives us chocolate biscuits.  When the Sage opened the tin, he offered it to me and I took one.  Just now, I thought that maybe I'd have another.  I've just looked and there are three left.  Hmm.  Not that I've any objection to his eating of good quality chocolate biscuits, but I've only seen him munching two or three of them, and the tin has been in this room the whole time.  He's a secret muncher!

Anyway, I thought I might watch television.  Nothing appealed.  The least tempting offer was on Channel Four - sorry, Channel 4 - Grimefighters, A Dagenham flat overrun by cockroaches.  So I'm listening to a CD of Round the Horne, instead.

I am quite relaxed around all sorts of creepy crawlies.  I'm the one in the family who's called on to lift spiders out of the bath, centipedes out of the artichoke and bishy barnabies (not that anyone dislikes them, of course, except the Harlequin variety on principle) from the rosebud.  I did have quite a thing about cockroaches, however.  We once had a load of coal delivered, when I was a child, into the cellar and it must have contained eggs, because during that winter a great many of the little beasts emerged into the kitchen.  They're terribly difficult to kill, being almost impervious to insecticide.  Stamping on them is the best option, and my mother used to sneak out into the kitchen, snap on the light and lunge on to as many as possible as they scurried for cover.  It was most unpleasant.  Eventually they were vanquished and I never saw one again until, in a fairly basic hotel in India, they were always to be found in the bathroom.  To my surprise, they didn't bother me at all.  They were quite small, for one thing, and they weren't in a kitchen (my poor ma, how horrible for her).  I was relieved that what I'd thought was a lifetime phobia had resolved itself into matter-of-factness.  I still don't want to see a television programme about them, however.

As I say, they're almost impossible to kill except by a direct blow, and there are various creatures and plants like that, and I always wonder, why haven't they completely taken over?  In my garden, it's a constant battle - well, it would be if I hadn't given in long ago - against ground elder, thistles, nettles, brambles and bindweed.  So how come they don't cover the entire ground?  And sycamore trees! - A large example blew down in 1986 and we were getting seedlings sprouting up for years afterwards.  I was really pleased when it blew down, even though it landed across the drive (no harm done) because of those damn seedlings, and there are still a few saplings that, however often they're cut down, keep sprouting again.  Then there's hawthorn, which self-seeds everywhere, elder bushes,  all sorts of things.  Is there something self-limiting about them, so that they kill themselves after a few years' proliferation?


Unknown said...

I cut down a sycamore tree four years ago to ground level. Every year since then the stump has put out branches. One year I left them alone to see what happened and by early autumn I had three four foot high sycamore saplings (which I then cut down). What with this determined effort at regeneration and those daft whirlybird seeds of theirs, I'm surprised that the whole country isn't one huge sycamore forest.

Marion said...

I just watched a Brit. serial, Downton Abbey. 2nd installment.I like the people in it.
Those shows about the really grubbly houses make me feel better about mine. Have you seen the ones about hoarders?

Dave said...

Natural predators. The usual diet of the cockroach is young sycamores.

Pat said...

Good I'm glad you are learning to say no.
It would be a kindness to the Sage to finish off the biscuits quick sharp and remove any evidence which may remind him of his naughtiness.
I can't watch those dirt infested programmes - it's like pornography in a strange way. Yucky!

Z said...

That's exactly it, Mike. And when you look at brambles and how they root where the tip touches the ground.

Downton Abbey was very popular here, Glenda, but I didn't see it. The family all reckons that the Sage would turn into one of those hoarders if I weren't here to keep the worst at bay. He'd never throw anything away, and keep buying more stuff from eBay!

Dave, there are no sycamores in houses, and I've never seen a cockroach living outdoors. I think your natural history is awry.

I really do feel I've done my part there, Pat, and I feel no obligation to come forward. On the other hand, I've taken over all the music, which I did share with Andy, because of the circumstances, and I think I'm going to have to do the next rota too, which he does. I have turned down quite a lot of things, but am a bit too willing to help out - I know what it's like, desperately needing someone and never having an offer of help.

One way or another, I don't think the biscuits will be around to provide temptation by the end of the week.

Christopher said...

Not easy to decide whether it's a good thing that chocolate biscuits have natural predators. A species providing easy prey to predators usually reproduces itself in large numbers. I should let nature take its course.

PixieMum said...

Understand about PCC so well. Ian & I are prepared if he is asked to go back on our PCC in April. As he is in the choir, is taking over the responsibility for Eucharistic Ministers which includes compiling the rota, Home Group, starting his second year of OU maths., art with U3A, sharing running the home with me, he feels he has enough on his plate.

However, our PCC is run by a clique, many are not elected but co-opted or a member by virtue of being say a Deanery Synod rep. so he would like to see a more democratic set up. He has had words with the new vicar about this, we believe he's not the only one either who wishes the process to be more open.

Me, I don't do committees.

Must go, off to a knitting group although wondering whether I want to go out in the cold.