It’s September and Something’s In The Air

It’s September and something is in the air.  Something has shifted. 

A barely discernible change of heart.  Something empowering from a few written words, edged with a hint of regret, yet remaining still and strong.   Opinions, debate, points taken, pause for thought…time for reflection and time to press on and time to hold my head high.

Summer hangs on for a little while  even as September’s bronze blurs the sun’s still warm rays, growing just a little shorter with each passing day as Autumn is gently ushered in.  Blackberries burst into purple goodness and golden hay bales dot the newly harvested fields.  Over-ripe apples, brimming with cider-ready juice, fall from heavy laden branches onto the dew-damp grass below. Children, wearing first-day and pristine (not for long) uniforms, skip happily (not for long!) to school.

Yes, September is upon us in all its glory, heralding the beginning of my favourite time of year. All is perfect. In my ideal world.

In the real world, something else is in the air and it is this:

Horrid Wasp

Horrid Wasp
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Or should I say these as in numerous, like an evil swarm.  I can’t believe I have posted this photograph here.  Just looking at it makes me feel quite ill and I am not exaggerating.  I have a phobia of these ghastly creatures.

Can someone please tell me just what their purpose in life is other than to dive-bomb into our faces, creep into our sandwiches and land on us ready to sting at the manic flailing of hands merest shooing away? Can’t we be left alone to  enjoy what remains of the late summer sunshine, sitting outside in a pub garden with a nice, cool glass of lager minding our own business without being hounded constantly by these yellow-striped demons from hell wasps? 

Worse. A recent newspaper article warns that due to the extended cold winter and late spring (those little chestnuts again) wasp season has been delayed by 3 weeks.  After an extended hibernation they have now emerged, healthier and stronger than ever for their long-overdue feeding frenzy!

Even worse. Due to the increased numbers of wasps, there isn’t enough work for all of them so now we have out-of-work wasps who have nothing better to do than to  gorge themselves all day long on the juice from the fermented apples.  This is making them drunk and even more aggressive and more likely to sting us!  What?!!

Jobless, drunk, agressive wasps?  Whatever next? Oh, I could say so much…

So watch out, you read it here and you have been warned!

I was born in September and my mum tells me that it is her fault that I hate wasps so much as she was plagued by them when she was expecting me so I have obviously caught ‘the bug’.

As kids, my brother and I used to spend hours playing lovely games outside like daring each other to see who could avoid landing in a bed of stinging nettles after sliding off the rusty corrugated roof of the old abandoned barn (you know the one, that old barn where the old tramp lives but who nobody has ever actually seen?).

One such time while we were out and about,  I felt something sting my leg. I batted at my jeans, thinking it was a nettle or even a thorn.  Then I felt another sting.  This went on a couple more times and then I felt something move beneath my hand.   I froze.  I knew instantly what it was.  Not caring, I immediately dropped my jeans and there, sure enough, was the semi-crumpled body of a wasp, and several red bumps on my knees where it had stung me.  I didn’t care a jot that it had stung me, it was the fact that it had actually touched my flesh. I cringe even now just thinking about it and to this day I have no idea how it got inside my jeans.

Recently, we spent a day with the family at Longleat, a wildlife safari park.  It was wasp season and they were out in droves that day.  Watching the rescue monkeys in their lovely new cages, I felt a slight tickle on the back of my left hand.  I was holding a cup of coffee at the time (I’m left handed). As I looked down, there, sitting right below my wedding ring was a wasp. My horrified reflex action was to throw out my hand not even thinking that at the same time I managed to fling the entire contents of my coffee cup down the back of my mother’s beautiful white jacket as she stood innocently in front of me.

Sorry Mum!

Here is a little story which has nothing to do with wasps but everything to do with the bond between brothers and sisters. I was reminded of it as I wrote this post.

Growing up in a rural village in Suffolk by a nearby farm my brother and I got into all sorts of trouble  had lots of fun. He is younger than me (not by much, 18 months…had to get that one in!) but he was always more daring.

Me & My Lovely Bruv (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Me & My Lovely Bruv 1961
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Another one of our games was to see who could jump the highest off the haystack into the soft straw below.  On this particular evening, and it was getting darker by the minute, we had worked our way to the very top of the haystack.  My brother had managed to leap off several times already and he was exhorting me to do the same, but I just couldn’t do it (I don’t like heights either!)  I would almost do it, I really tried. I would run up to the very edge, and then, as I looked down I would lose my bottle.  I just couldn’t do it.

My brother jumped off one last time and called up to me, urging me to give it one last go but I was ready to accept defeat.  I stepped back, ready to climb back down. Except this time when I stepped back I felt something soft and rather large under foot. I turned around, and there, staring right back at me, now on its haunches and squealing hideously at me was the biggest, ugliest, barn rat I’d ever seen.

That was all the exhortation I needed.  Letting out a loud scream, I took a running leap, jumped clean off the edge of the haystack, landed in the straw below, got back on my feet and ran all the way home, much to the astonishment of my brother.

As I ran faster than ever before, I heard my brother’s words ringing in my ears as he called after me:

“Well done Sherri, I knew you could do it!”

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri is a writer with work published in print magazines, anthologies and online. As a young British mum of three, she emigrated to California and stayed for twenty years. Today she lives in England's West Country, a full-time carer within her family. Her current WIP after completing her memoir is a psychological thriller.
This entry was posted in Childhood Memories, Family Life, Humour, Musings, Nature & Wildlife, Suffolk Tales and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to It’s September and Something’s In The Air

  1. Jennwith2ns says:

    This post is hilarious! Thanks for the morning laughs. 🙂


  2. Dylan Hearn says:

    Wasps for you, flies for us. We’ve had some wasps but not the plague that you are describing. I remember a comedian once saying that wasps are from outer space because they were indestructible. You can stamp on a wasp, squash it, event cut off its head and it still comes back for more.
    Ahh, jumping from haystacks. Now that is a pastime I remember very well.


  3. I agree with you. I hate all of those pests, especially bees. Why can’t they stick with the flowers and leave us alone?


    • Sherri says:

      Hi Bev! The bees that stay on the flowers are lovely and mind their own business. Wasps (or I think you call them yellow jackets in the States?) don’t do that and seem to want nothing else other than to make us miserable by tormenting us, and stinging us at every opportunity 😦


  4. Heyjude says:

    Give me wasps over rats any day of the week! My mother taught me NOT to wave my hands about as that is when they are most likely to sting you, so I NEVER flap at wasps. The first time I was stung though was when I was sewing in class (I was about 8 yrs. old) and a wasp landed on my finger, I carried on sewing (ignoring it as Mum had said) and it stung me! I was more astonished by its audacity than the actual sting.

    A nice humorous post Sherri and what a lovely ‘pigeon pair’ you and your bruv made 🙂
    Jude xx


    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thanks Jude, yes, we did have some good times. Although, of course, we also argued terribly but then what brothers and sisters don’t?
      I was always taught not to flap about too but I am so paranoid that I just can’t help it. I tried the whole sitting still thing (breaking out in a cold sweat just thinking about it!) but it just doesn’t work for me.
      That is exactly the thing with wasps, they sting you just for the hell of it, for no reason at all! There you were, not bothering that wasp and look what happened! Horrible, just horrible.
      However, yes, I do wonder, what is worse? That rat was just hideous….
      Glad you enjoyed the post 🙂 xx


  5. LOL I can imagine you leaping and running away hahaha


  6. jennypellett says:

    Wasps – what purpose do they serve in the food chain? My biggest ‘bug-bear’ are mosquitos – nasty little beasts, especially at night when you can’t see them, just hear that awful high pitched whine – and you know that before long, it will bite and in the morning you’ll be covered in unsightly swellings.


    • Sherri says:

      Oh yes, mosquitos. When I was 16 we went on one of those 70s driving ‘see Europe in 14 days’ holidays and one of the hotels we stayed in Italy didn’t have any screens on the windows (no air con either!). All night long we heard that awful whine and couldn’t get any sleep. The next morning my face was a mess, along with the spots I already had. Lovely. Just what you want when you are 16! But, got to say, I still detest wasps even more, they actually make me feel ill and I can’t bear to be in a room if one even so much as comes in!


  7. parrillaturi says:

    Great post. I echo your sentiments. Why on earth are they here! I remember our foster brother, teaching us how to swat these pesky kamikaze dive bombers. We would approach them very gingerly, and as we got closer, we would smash them with our hands. One thing we always forgot to do. You had to snap them in a quick manner, otherwise, the sting would get you. Guess what, it always got us. Hate those things. Blessings.


    • Sherri says:

      Wow, that’s incredible that you actually managed to smash them with your hands! You are so much braver than I, I just couldn’t bear to do that and I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it! Thanks so much for dropping by, glad you enjoyed the post! Thank you too for the follow, I really appreciate it, lovely to meet you 🙂


  8. Denise says:

    Mosquitoes always go for me too. That is a HUGE wasp in that picture (I know it’s a close up but he’s a scary looking bugger). Very funny stories!


    • Sherri says:

      He was a scary looking bugger, lol!! That wasp had just been scooped out of my husband’s pint of lager (not by me of course) and was actually drunk! That is how I managed to get the photo before it flew off (and before I had a chance to squash it!!) I shudder just thinking about it … 😉


  9. Lyn Buckley says:

    Sent from my iPhone


  10. Pingback: Curiosity #1 | Muck, Line and Thinker

  11. Horrid wasps!!! At Dave and Genevieve’s wedding reception my nephew, Danny and I spent the entire time catching wasps (drunk I might add) under our plastic cups. They were not the horrid big hornets you have but I STILL HATE THEM! Of course Genevieve did not appreciate our efforts at bug control and was in fact quite appalled! Perhaps there was a reason you couldn’t be there my friend. You were spared at least one invasion!!! And I seldom laugh out loud as I did but when I think of the shock your poor beautiful Mum experienced when you tossed your cup of coffee-oh my! Well the whole story including the adventures of your brother and you were absolutely delightful (well I guess not the rat.) You bring it all to life but please keep the wasps over there across the pond-yuck!!! xo


    • Sherri says:

      Oh Diane, aren’t they just so awful, and I can just picture Genny now, her expression, bless her!! Ahh, I would have loved to have been there at her and Dave’s wedding as you know, but as you say, perhaps in the end it was well that I was spared the wasp horror!!
      I am so glad that you were able to have a good laugh at these stories. The thing about my mum’s jacket is when it happened she didn’t realise about the stain at first, I was mortified, and I told Claire not to say anything until I had. Well of course you know that Claire couldn’t wait to tell on me and thought the whole thing absolutely hilarious!!!!! The stain did come out btw, lol 🙂
      Will make sure not to send any wasps or rats over to you…have a wonderful weekend my friend xoxoxoxo


  12. I should have specified the wasps were drunk not Danny & I since he was only 5 at the time!! ; )


  13. xbox2121 says:

    This is a great post Sherri, it is very well written plus I got a good laugh out of it who could ask for more !!


  14. Rachel says:

    I hate wasps too. When my son was little and unable to talk, he got very upset one day and started rubbing his leg. He was wearing trousers at the time so we were not immediately aware what was wrong but it turned out he had a wasp in his trousers and by the time we realised it had stung him three times.
    I love this time of year too and am looking forward to seeing the autumn colours.


    • Sherri says:

      They are just the worst I think. So sorry to hear about your little boy, I certainly know how he felt 😦
      Yes, a beautiful time of the year, love the autumn colours.


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