Friday, March 25, 2016

Biological warfare

Summer is a-waning and soon I won't be able to swim in Dummy Bay after my daily ride, though the other day one of the floating logs waved its flipper at me and I thought better of swimming in the bay. Any log that waves its flipper and then climbs out onto the beach and yawns at you and shows off all its teeth when you walk up to have a closer look is an Apex Predator and likely to be more agile than I am in the water. People swim with fur seals, actually. It's a Tourist Thing. I don't. Not since Prof. Dr. Renouf told me that an Englishman came in to have a four-inch wide, two-inch deep bite in his bum attended to, the seal swum with not having quite grasped all the principles of tourism.

Summer is a-waning and we had ten inches of rain the other night. That's a lot of rain. In the morning I got the canoe out and paddled it across the lawn. Managed three yards; then it grounded. But I was able to establish that it draws five-and-a-half inches of water with me aboard, useful info for the proa-builder, though it will be observed, should anyone other than Mr. Larrington still be attentive, that not much proa-building has occurred of late. Who cares? Not me, apart from when I trip over it and gash the back of my knee. A daughter has taken to calling it Schubert's Unfinished. But one has to be honest: one builds a boat in order to build a boat, and the more protracted the business the better. Nobody sails it afterwards. Not more than half-a-dozen times. However Bill, who is an American who paddles single-seated outrigger canoes and used to sail them in Hawaii told me that a sailing canoe was 'a blast' but I would need that second outrigger. We shall see.

A canoe, yesterday. Without me in it, obv. Unless I have shrunk somewhat.

Ten inches of rain on the lawn is ideal for waging war with the dandelion grubber, which works to perfection in 'stremely wet soil. One came out with a fourteen inch tap root. The grubber isn't as clever at dodging pedestrians as a driverless car and set me wondering what earthworms say to each other when cut cleanly in half. Must go something like this:
"Ow! Ow! Ow!"
"Hullo, what's up?"
"Ow, just got cut in half."
"There's a coincidence. So did I."
"Hey, don't I know you?"
"Oh yes! I used to be your arse."

Ten inches of rain fills the buckets and reminds me of the other biological warfare I'm waging. I keep several buckets of water about the garden, and daily inspect them. The mosquitoes lay their eggs appreciatively and when the eggs turn into wrigglers, I carefully tip the bucket onto the roots of the orange tree. Very satisfying, this, unless you're a wriggler.

But one doesn't win every insect battle and I did get marauded by a marauding flea while standing at the lathe last week. There I was attentively screwcutting and felt an itch, but couldn't stop of course and when I did there was a line of bites. Why do fleas graze? They're not cows, and I'm not a field. Couldn't find the flea, but doused a small spider crawling round inside my trousers with flyspray anyway. And the fleabites didn't itch afterwards so perhaps they were spider bites instead. One doesn't otherwise slay spiders, though I never yet saw one usefully catch a mosquito. Mostly they eat the moths that would only otherwise commit suicide. (Light + moth = bonkers insect behaviour.) Sometimes they manage a fly, but not very often. Anyway I'm kinder to a fly out of a modicum of compassion for an animal that will be dead in a fortnight regardless: I bring a hand slowly up and when four inches away snatch the air just above his head. The fly leaps upwards just as my hand closes. Then to the door and he flies off, ungrateful and unaware. But it saves squidging and the concomitant chore of wiping tell-tale alizarin splodges off the ceiling. Only if they refuse three times to be caught do they get shot with the rubber-band rifle. They have had their chance: then it is Death.
Rubber band rifle. The dental floss ties band to gun, and makes retrieval easy. Trigger of bone acts on any one of three arms of 'crossbow nut'.

Also, there ought to be a carrot-lathe in the kitchen. Not relevant to the above discussion, but as these staggeringly sensible ideas occur to me I am graciously moved to write them down for the benefit of the human race.

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Blogger Mr Larrington said...

A carrot-lathe must surely be as great a contribution to Civilisation as that gadget invented by an airline caterer to ensure unifomity of hard-boiled* egg slices, salads for the use of.

* - habitually pack a gat, hang out in sleazy bars on Hollywood Boulevard, always tripping over the body of Humpty Dumpty ect. ect.

March 28, 2016 at 2:20 AM  

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