It's right to feel waspish about this threat to family attractions
PUBLISHED: 00:00 28 August 2012
During the summer holidays, we have made our annual pilgrimages to several of Norfolk's premier family attractions: you know, the ones that are full of wasps.
There’s nothing like paying through the nose to spend an entire day running away from the striped armed robbers of the insect world while saying reassuring things to your children like: “Keep still and they won’t hurt you.”
This ranks as one of the very worst lies in the lexicon of parental untruths.
Of course the wasps are going to hurt you – after five minutes in a family attraction your children will have demanded an ice lolly which, despite the fact it is freezing cold and raining, will have somehow melted all over their face and clothes.
In the wasp’s creepy compound eye, the children have transformed themselves into giant, ambulatory pots of jam. They’re asking for it, and if the wasp’s got anything to say about it, they’re going to get it.
White knuckle thrill rides at theme parks have nothing on the adrenaline rush one receives when trying to protect children from a wasp attack during a picnic lunch that no one wants, but which you’ve carried for six miles and you’ll be damned if they don’t eat it.
Ironically, the wasps will be the only creatures that appreciate the fact you’ve made a picnic, even though you promised that next time you’d pack Peperamis and mini-cocktail sausages aren’t the same and they’re not mini anyway, you’ve just cut up the big ones that were left over last night. Last year, a wasp, or wasps, stung me six times in the space of 60 seconds. The last time I was stung by a bee was when I paid almost £7 for a jar of organic honey.
Had there been an announcement that the wasp was dying out, rather than the bee, the collective cheer from the Earth would have been so great you’d have heard it on Neptune.
I’m a vegetarian, but even I’d eat wasps if it meant their population was kept artificially low and I could go out for the day without spending six hours windmilling my arms to avoid being pumped full of venom.
The thing that annoys me most about wasps is that they appear to be quite clever – if a bee flies into your path, it’ll back off and bumble away to find a nice flower. If you collide with a wasp, it’ll circle you while you scream like a five-year-old, ready at any given moment to give it to you with both barrels with its double-barbed, venom-filled wasp swords. It’s one of the very few times in life when size really doesn’t matter.
Clearly, however, if wasps were switched on, they’d have mugged a bee for the recipe for honey and spin-doctored their way into our hearts instead of building those sinister, papery, honey-less nests.
Anyway, this long-winded hate mail to wasps is a smoke-screen I’ve set up in order that you don’t notice the fact I’m about to announce I won’t be here for a fortnight – I’m off to find more wasp-filled attractions with the kids. Listen out for the screams.