Monday 23 October 2023

Lazy beasties

 What’s that noise I hear outside? Oh, yes, the unfamiliar sound of rain, at last, slow warm steady rain. Indeed, once again we have seen a drought that lasted nearly into November, which seems to have been a recursive issue these last few years here in France.

We are now back home from our extensive rugby travels and my head is down into work to get my latest writing project done by the end of the year. It was a trip to savour and I am now officially Argentinian, adopting that nation as we are heading to visit there in January to see a few cows, and possibly some wine. This time of year we welcome the beasties into the house, normally in the form of rodents who come inside for the winter, seemingly to live alongside our two cats who have about as much hunting instinct as Chris Packam! However, this year they are not the only ones seeking refuge inside as we have been subjected to a plague of stinky insects called Green Shield Bugs, known as ‘punaise’ in French. These freakish little creatures, that look not unlike a beetle, make a hell of a noise when they fly, and seem to hide in every crevice, from curtains to wardrobes to the car boot. It appears there is nowhere they won’t infiltrate and woe-betide if you so much as touch one, let alone step on it, as they give off a foul spray of scent that would turn your stomach. Hopefully now the winter is approaching they will die off and give us some peace. Apparently, they are partial to crops and vegetation although there is very little of that around just now. I just thought: if you heavily step on one, is that called a ‘Green-shield stamp?’ Ha, you have to be a certain age to understand that one!

Next month we head north, with a stopover to see my new grandson - yes I am now grandfather to little Louis, such a cute baby boy; congratulations to my son Sam and his wife Izzy. I did pop over and see him a month ago, but flights seem to be so disorganized these days, it’s just easier to drive. For example, Wendy went to Scotland for a funeral yesterday and got stuck in Dublin as the plane was delayed by an hour, then on her way home, missed the flight as it left 15 minutes early. I guess she will get home sometime, somehow. In early November I am on duty judging the Scottish National Calf show in Stirling, appointed to select the overall champions from all breeds, which is quite an honour. After that it’s a few more months writing, with two books due out next year. Although we are not showing the sheep in 2024, I guess there will be some book-signing tours to follow and marketing to do which will keep me busy.

Of course, between now and then we have to endure another bonfire night and all the disruption that causes. Well, this year I note that a certain supermarket is selling no-noise fireworks. What a great idea, says I, my dog hates fireworks - until I do a little more investigation and find that there is no such thing. In order to set off a firecracker of any sort you need a little explosion and it is pretty difficult to do that without making a noise of some sort. So, what they are (illegally) advertising is low (not no)-noise fireworks. How do companies get away with hoodwinking the public with such myth? That’s like selling sunglasses with clear lenses or, heaven-forbid, silent rice-crispies!    






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