Wednesday, 23 May 2012


Do you ever hear sounds that aren’t there?  I do.  I’m not sure I should be confessing this days before meeting many of my blog buddies for the first time, but don’t worry.  At least not too much.  This only happens under very specific circumstances, to wit, just when I’m due to wake up from my early morning dream sleep.  So far, it’s either the doorbell or the alarm.  Lord knows how either of these lodged themselves that deeply in the bilges of my subconscious, or wherever it is they reside  – the alarm makes some sense (although you’d think by now twelve years of not having to get up for work would have expunged it); but the doorbell, where does that come from?  As far as I can remember, nobody has ever rung my doorbell earlier than nine a.m., except by arrangement.  It’s mysterious.

This morning, though, was an interesting variant.  It was about five-thirty when the unmistakeable buzz of a flying insect woke me.  I hadn’t even started dreaming.  And it was much too early.  And it went on after my eyes and ears were definitely open.  This was the real thing.

I’m good in a crisis.  Like a super-hero, I switched on the light, sprang out of bed and grabbed a towel.  The buzzing stopped.  But I had a fix on it: somewhere around the front curtains.  I did a forensic inspection of all areas then carefully agitated the curtains.  The buzzer wasn’t falling for that.  I lowered the towel and backed away.  It was a blink-first standoff.

It blinked first, a black buzzing dot hovering near the wardrobe.  I went into full Zen warrior mode.  One swing of the towel, and the sleepy queen wasp was squirming on the floor.  I finished it off, binned it and went back to bed.

Probably two hours later the unmistakeable buzz of a flying insect woke me.  It stopped as soon as I opened my eyes.  I waited; it didn’t come back.  It wasn’t there.  Oh well, I thought, that’s an addition to the repertoire of wake-up calls.  At least they’re all based on, or drawn from, memory, so I don’t expect herds of wildebeest in the attic.  Mustn’t get complacent though; I did once hear a Coldplay record …


  1. We seem to have a lot of queen wasps around this year, too. I wonder if it has anything to do with the jubilee?

  2. I was brought up in a country whereby the cessation of the high-pitched whine was cause for concern.

  3. There's a daddy long legs trying to get out of my study window right now. I'm torn between thinking 'it's harmless, let it out' and 'leatherjackets are a nuisance in the lawn, kill it.' I should be decisive, like you.

  4. The French for tinnitus is acouphène (m). Just thought you might like to know. You never know when it might be useful.

  5. My husband always rescues any wildlife that gets into our house (he might draw the line at wildebeast though). I, on the other hand, take the view that I don't go into their house so they shouldn't come into mine.

  6. This wasn't about the real ones, I can deal with them each in its own way (as can you all, I see - I think Liz has the right paradigm). Chris, thank you for that tip, but if it were acouphène I'd get used to it - it's the randomness (every three weeks maybe) that jolts me. (Or at least so I pretend for blog-effective purposes.)