This was during the height of the bee invasion.
I was putting out the rubbish bins for next morning collection when the dog darted out of the gate and into the road. I’d forgotten about doing this chore earlier, so it was very late in the evening, and from the stillness and silence in the street and the lack of lights in the houses, the neighbours had already gone to bed.
Of course, that is when the dog most wants to play up. Like children, they sense when you’re nervous about it and play up all the more, somehow knowing you don’t want to cause a scene.
First our dog ran off to the right. The neighbours’ dogs immediately sniffed his presence and all three of them took to barking him a warning not to go there.
He took his time though, before dashing straight past me and off to the left, setting off the next few neighbours’ dogs.
I didn’t want to call him much or loudly as doing so would alert everyone that it was our dog causing all these problems. After the first couple of hushed calls I kept silent since he wasn’t responding anyway. Hopefully the neighbours would think it a stray, a cat or anything other than our poorly trained dog.
Catching him was a whole other problem: the dog always takes that to mean you want to play and as long as you don’t catch him, he gets more playtime – and he’s a playful dog.
Plus he’s a black dog in a dark night (don’t think I need to explain that one).
Eventually he decided that he didn’t mind returning to our property (unfortunately I can’t claim any influence on that action), but as we returned to the house a stray bee inside had him scampering away from the bedroom and straight up the stairs.
He refused to descend. Each attempt I made to join him, he retreated further to the next floor.
I had been ready for my bed before I put the bins out, so I’d reached my limit of coaxing I was prepared to do now that he wasn’t a nuisance to our new neighbours.
So I left him there, closing all doors in a feeble attempt to stop any bees migrating up to him or into the bedroom.
Ohhh, but then there’s Karma.
Feeling guilty about leaving our bee-frightened dog in the unfurnished upstairs rooms, I slept very badly, worrying that maybe a bee would get to him and he’d try to eat it. I tossed and turned until about 3.am. when he started barking. I dashed straight to his aid (well almost, I put on some thick soled shoes first) and as soon as I opened the door he ran past, almost knocking me over, straight into the bedroom. No qualms about going past the bees this time.
Finally, we could both settle down and get some sleep. Only 4 hours worth though, as I was expecting some workmen that morning. The dog certainly picks his nights to play up.
I also discovered that the area has a fair few mosquitos.
This was quite a surprise. Apparently the water is mostly from underground springs. Not sure where those springs run, as a lot of our garden has deep cracks in it after a prolonged dry period.
It’s also disappointing. Mozzies love me. One warm, stormy night (although no rain over us) was enough to bring them all out in force and make a beeline for my blood, despite putting on some repellent. By the next morning the bites had turned into swellings and necessitated a trip to the pharmacy – a type of shop that France thankfully has no scarcity of.
I’ve read somewhere that there is a theory that those who follow a low carb diet and are in ketosis are less attractive to mozzies. I’ve also read somewhere that people in ketosis smell a lot less attractive to humans too. For me the theory doesn’t stack up as H eats more carbs than me, but even if it did, I think I’d rather just apply more citronella.