Monday, 23 May 2016

The Frenchman Who Kicked The Hornets Nest



One hot summer's day last year Paul was cutting the laurel hedge with his shears when he stumbled across a large hornets’ nest.  He made a hasty retreat! A tentative, closer inspection of the insects revealed them to be Asian hornets. This dreaded insect not only has a horrid sting but has colonised huge swathes of France and, with a few hornets capable of destroying 30,000 bees in just a couple of hours, honey production has plummeted.

Paul went to look for Philippe, our neighbour.  He was out so Paul spoke to his wife Patricia, to ask if she had a contact number for the local Pest Controller.  She did. “But they will charge you 70 euros,” she added.  A hefty fee but we clearly couldn’t leave the nest in situ. 

Later that afternoon, before Paul had been able to make any ‘phone calls, an apparition appeared in our garden.  It was Philippe dressed in wellington boots, a heavy oilskin coat and matching hat.  He was pushing a wheelbarrow containing a gas bottle with an oxy acetylene torch.

My pleas for caution were ignored and without further ado Philippe merrily lit the flame thrower and thrust it into the middle of the hornets’ nest.  The hornets were instantly incinerated, they certainly didn’t suffer.  Unfortunately a large section of our laurel hedge was incinerated too.  Still, at least it didn’t cost us 70 euros.




6 comments:

  1. I like the painting of Philippe :)
    They were selling flame throwers in Lidl last week, Tom really wanted one but they were for killing weeds so not much use at the flat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You do not need a flame thrower Kat!

      Delete
  2. Philippe looks kind-of-cute in your water colour. I must admit that I thought that the worst would happen and there would still be a €70 plus charge made to someone else. Well done that man!
    If the Lidl's 'flame thrower' is anything like the thing we borrowed then it hardly touches weeds, let alone our still to be removed bits of bamboo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Philippe is a great character, always happy to help us out.

      Delete
  3. We did much the same a couple of years back, with a long pole and an oil soaked rag.

    I found Philippe's (Mas Maurie?) lost hunting dog recently. He came to collect it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was Cybele. I think she was making a break for freedom, she's locked up in kennels most of the time. Rather sad.

      Delete