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Picture if you will, a wild haired head with a nervous looking face. Give the face an odd open mouthed rictus. Now give the attached body some rather shabby clothes draped with leaves, twigs and quite a lot of dirt. Now have the bizarre visage lurch up to you and very earnestly say “Ah ha geen shtung gy a gee serrul tines and Ah ang allergic to theng.”

Unfortunately, the nervous face was mine. The open mouthed rictus; mine. You see, I had been toiling away at the truly astounding amount of weeds and plants that were laying siege to my crumbling cottage and had paused after a couple of very industrious hours to have a nice cuppa (mug of coffee). Unfortunately, a bee had settled on to the rim of the mug and then stung me. Repeatedly. I am allergic to North American bees. Apparently I am not allergic to whatever it was that stung me. If I’d been stung in the mouth by a North American bee, I would have a very few short minutes to get assistance. I live in a remote place, but the hamlet is only a couple of minutes away. So I kind of dashed to the local shop and sort of babbled my situation and asked if they would be so kind as to send for an ambulance if my face suddenly decided to grow seven sizes too large.

They armed me with stingose and nice cuppa. This was not a secret hope that the bee would have another go and this time get it right, it was the kind act of a couple of very nice people who then very politely waited until I was outside before they burst out laughing. Shame I could see them through window. And they’d gone to all that effort to hold it in, too.

Me, I would have started laughing pretty much immediately. Maybe that’s why the bee chose to sting me. It somehow sensed that I was not a really nice fellow. I suppose it could be argued that it stung me out of self defence; that I’d just splashed it with scalding hot coffee and was in the process of swallowing it. Regardless, I was stung and then a few minutes later found myself sitting out the front of the shop with a cuppa and a curiously numb mouth (Stingose seems to work).

I sat around for about half an hour and – disappointingly, I am sure – failed to do the man-with-an-inflatable-head trick.  Then I thanked them (having reacquired the ability to use syllables as they are sort of intended) and then headed home. I recount all of this because:

a) it was a bit of an adventure. A modest one, to be sure, but an adventure nonetheless.

b) it demonstrates that in times of distress or trouble I have people who I can get help from – and they will be the kind of people who will wait until after the peril and after I am out of sight before laughing their heads off.

And worryingly;

c) this does not bode well for my future endeavours. Harkening back to my intro, it may be that I am to be cast as the good natured bumbling twit who keeps getting himself injured.

Sigh. On the bright side, I did manage to clear up almost a tenth of the weeds and bramble and what not. The piles, if added together, would be about the size of a school bus. The sad thing is, this isn’t really an exaggeration. Now I just have to get rid of the garden waste. How to do so will take some thinking and planning. Perhaps I will go and make myself a nice cuppa and start the thinking and planning. White, two sugars, and no bees.