02 May, 2006

Pest watch

A giant bee flew into my carriage on the Underground this morning. There was, as you'd expect, repressed uproar. Old women shifted uneasily. Young businessmen narrowed their eyes and began to sweat silently. A couple pursed their lips and attempted to stare straight ahead. A mother turned a page of her newspaper. Her child, meanwhile, screamed and ran about.

As for me, I got out at the very next stop and moved down a carriage. I wasn't going to have my journey terrorised by such a lumbering, petulant pest. I wasn't too keen on the bee either.

If ever you wanted a sign that summer had almost arrived, here it was. The bee was one of those enormously fat, stupidly angry types, the size of a small potato, utterly disorientated at having arrived in an environment from which it could detect no obvious exit, but resolutely set on making everyone's life a misery by zooming in the least predictable directions all the same. It could even have been a hornet - the nastiest, most uncompromising, least sympathetic of all the aero-insect brood.

The dopey creature had only got into the carriage because the windows were open. But the irony was it wasn't actually that warm inside. First thing in the morning, most Underground trains have yet to acquire any trace of the stuffy, sweaty, suffocating fug they possess come early evening. If the windows had stayed shut, the bee would never have arrived and the ensuing kerfuffle would never have, well, ensued. I trust such instances of winged invasion are not common. Given the temperature in London is supposed to hit the mid-20s by the end of the week, I fear I am about to find out.


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