Sunday, June 01, 2003

Watty's been on the Home Front:

I was woken this morning by the news that the kitchen was infested. Not entirely unexpected, as will become clear. I struggled into some form of clothes, and staggered downstairs to face the enemy. It seems that every year, around Whitsun, out come the ants. Quite who is responsible for telling the ants that it's the end of May, I'm not sure, but there you are. As my eyes gradually unfog and begin to focus on the kitchen floor, I can see that I'm in for a day of military activity. The ants have established a bridgehead at the strategic hall/kitchen border, and have strong supply lines snaking across under the kitchen table, where there may or may not be the odd disused pea. Other raiding parties are striking out for an interesting-loking Ribena stain deeper into the kitchen, and a few enterprising souls are heading off randomly, but full of hope and determination.

First avenue of attack - last year's crawling insect spray. Alas, there's not even propellant left in the can. Boiling water's out - not at this time in the morning; I'd only pour it on my feet, and in any case, I have no idea where they're coming from. So, kitchen cleaner with bleach, then. Well, it's certainly fatal to them; the ant forces take some heavy casualties early on, but I'm left with dozens of corpses to deal with, and a strong smell of bleach at the breakfast table. As I gather the matériel required to mop up, I realise that a second wave has been launched, and I can't tell where they're coming from. None of last year's entry points have any ants near them, and there's no other obvious way in. Slowly it dawns on me that they're coming up the hall from the front door - struggling antfully over the lip, past the draught excluder, through the doormat, and up the relatively ant-unfriendly carpet. Pausing only to applaud their strength of purpose, I break out the Dyson Of Doom. A few minutes of cyclonic vacuum, and the invasion is over. For now, anyway. I quickly apply washing up liquid to the strategic parts of the invasion route, and retreat to an uneasy breakfast.

By the time we're ready to go out for reinforcements, I'm half-convinced I've won. When we get back, armed with sprays and traps and so on, I'm startled to discover that I actually have won. This doesn't stop me spraying every square inch of potential entry, and laying traps near what is obviously Base Camp near the front door, but for now, I think I can hold them off.

I know I should be conducting scientific experiments, and studying their migration patterns, and so on, but not in my kitchen, thank you. Did I ever tell you about the time we had a mouse in the kitchen in Perth..?

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