Monday, October 31, 2005


From time to time Kan Towers is invaded by creatures the provenance of which is a complete mystery to me. One of the joys of living in England is that the indiginous insect population never exceeds the size of say, a daddy-long-legs and although, as in the case of those tiny black flies which alight on anything white in Lincolnshire during the summer months and are known locally as 'thrips', their sheer numbers can be overwhelming, one is rarely faced with anything which may force one to accept the existence of that which could not be described in any way as normal. Take this little beggar for example, which found itself on the wrong side of the mosquito netting this morning, a fact that would probably account for the rather itchy protruberances on the back of my thigh at the moment. After all, if something this size can breach my defences, just how many skeeters have snuck through undetected? A thing of wondrous form and strange beauty though, is it not? Diaphanously winged and provided with limbs far too long and interestingly jointed to be in any way aerodynamic, it would appear to be some kind of mutant grasshopper, a cicada maybe? I consulted my neighbour, whose closeness to what we may call nature is somewhat less distant than my own, by some considerable margin I might add, and he informed me it was a sáska. My joy at finally discovering tangible evidence of the existence of the creature after which all inhabitants of this village are nicknamed, myself included, although in my case the appellation is usually prefixed by 'trainee', was tempered by the fact that I was no closer to an identification I could actually understand.

A quick reference to the dictionary, usually a last resort the reason for which will be all too clear to any ex-pats reading, revealed sáska to be locust. Now you may call me sceptical if you like but I do have a vague memory of the locusts kept in our biology lab at school and, although sharing some characteristics with this specimen, were sufficiently different so as to provide me with no reason whatsoever to revise my opinion of multi-lingual dictionaries. A quick inspection of the grounds was all it took to reassure me that its sudden appearance was not as a scout for some invading army although were frogs to fall from the sky and rivers turn red at anytime in the near future, I should be forced into a reconsideration.

I suppose I could have gone the route of the Bush Tucker Man and deep fried it whole in breadcrumbs...mmmmm, crunchy, tastes just like chicken...but I am far too squeamish for that. I enabled it to escape and watched it fly away. I say fly, but it would seem that wings were an evolutionary afterthought and it still hadn't quite got used to them yet. (I know - still and yet in the same sentence. Tear me for my tautologies.)

So, 'tis Hallowe'en this day. Not, as yet, celebrated here but should trick or treating ever catch on amongst the scabby kneed and snotty nosed, I may have to make a slight adjustment to the wiring of the bell push. I would prefer to go for a kind of tazer effect, enough to disable but just this side of lethal. I'm a bit strapped for cash at the moment and would have to dispose of the charred and partly cooked remains myself.

I did make one concession however, and carve a pumpkin. I know I wasn't aiming for a scary, snarling rictus effect but I am not quite sure I was intent on producing an inane grin, either. Oh well, it's the Day of the Dead tomorrow which, while not quite being of the same festival nature as it is in Mexico, does produce some wonderful candlelit scenes in the cemetery of an evening. If I can lay off the malt for long enough into the hours of darkness and can actually be arsed, I shall post photos.

Don't hold your breath.

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