Thursday, 23 August 2018


Every night at 10.19 a hornet arrives and

makes a great effort to get into the house.

It hunts for crevices but none seem to be

wide enough or deep enough and it withdraws,

and buzzes across another stretch till it finds

another potential hole to disappear into.

Sometimes it’s joined by one, two or even

three others and the air is full of their

deep droning. If I’ve left the door open

it will fly straight in and start hunting in the

kitchen. We shut the shutters at 10 o’clock

and that sorts it, though one time, our

daughter came into our bedroom at about

five in the morning and said that there was

a hornet in her room. She said that it had

flown above her head as she lay in bed,

flying from the skylight to the window. It must

have been there all night. The man next door

said that he was once stung by a hornet while

he was picking courgettes and his arm swelled

up like a balloon. The man who cuts grass and

hedges says he’s been stung by hornets and

it’s no big deal. I ask him what he puts on it

and he says nothing because it happens when

he’s out cutting grass and hedges. I told him

that he has to be careful not to annoy a hornet.

Hornets that are annoyed release a scent that

tells the other hornets to come straightaway 

and sting whatever it is that is annoying the one 

who’s released the scent. We scream when we see

them arrive at 10.19 and we hide. Or we ram

the doors and windows shut and peer at them

through the glass. The hornets see us and

come over to the glass and crawl in front of us

just a few millimetres from our noses. Once I

was sitting in the kitchen with the door open

behind me and the hornet flew in at 10.19 and

landed in my hair. It decided of its own accord

that there wasn’t a deep enough crevice there.

Another time I said that I would shut the shutters

to keep the hornets out but then just as I shut

the shutters I found that I had trapped myself

between the shutters and the outside doors

with the hornet. There wasn’t any room for me

to run away from it and it tried my hair. Once

again, my hair turned out to be not good

enough for it and it flew off into the night when

I got the shutters open. I imagined myself

opening my mouth and the hornet flying in

and deciding that at last it had found the crevice

it’s been looking for all summer, only for me

to close my mouth around it, finishing it off

with one crunch.