Culture Shock

No more heat, no more sweat, no more wasps

My body and mind were up to breaking point about a week ago. A dreadfully long summer is finally over. Not a day in July and August did the scorching heat go below 38 degrees. Every day and night hot heat blew in my face. I had to sleep with a fan on full, sometimes waking at four in the morning in pools of sweat. One day I even had 5 showers, just to keep my brain sane.

Wasps have gone…almost… Photo by Pasukaru

The mornings were fine. We could normally keep busy doing something or entertain the kids in someway, although the park was often out of bounds by about 11.30am because the slides were hot enough to turn my son’s legs onto little barbecued sausages.

The afternoons were a killer though. Fortunately I’ve been able to battle through the heat after lunch, with the help of a gale force fan in my lounge, and managed to bash through about 5 chapters worth of editing in July and August, so I’m over the moon on that front.

But afternoons with the kids was hard work at times. They were often groggy and irritable after their naps, so keeping them entertained in the house until about seven was often tricky. Add the fact that one started walking as the other was potty training, made for some fun afternoons in the 40 degree heat. After lunch strolls through the countryside while the kids dozed in their prams, trips down to the local café to have some churros, and even spending the afternoon in the centre were all ruled out thanks to the microwave style heating system provided in this horrible oven.

And to top things off, the afternoons when we were able to venture out a little after about seven, we were greeted by some vicious wasps. If you’ve read my blog about the cockroaches, then you’ll know we’ve already had a handful of bother from bugs this year, so finding we had about three wasps’ nests, and that our neighbour had four, caused a bit of a stir.

I loved sitting out in the patio last year after lunch, dipping in our plastic dunking pool, and doing some writing, but these wasps were desperate for water and on a mission to attack any unwanted predators. We even called up Roberto again, asking what he could do. He turned up one afternoon, just because he was passing, and said we’d have to get rid of the nests (no shit Sherlock), but we were unable to get in contact with him through the whole of August, so we decided to pop in on the neighbour with the other wasps nests to see if he had a better idea.

We only went round for a quick chat, but we were asked in, with the kids (remembering that one was quite forgetful he wasn’t wearing a nappy), and shown round the house while we chatted about the remedies for the wasps nests.

“I could just come round and burn them down,” said the man of the house. I laughed, but he was deadly serious.

“Yeah, he did that last year,” said his wife, not sure if she believed her own words, “and they went soon enough.”

“I can pop round tomorrow night if you want,” he added.

“Sure, sure,” I said, wondering if there was a way I could get another number for Roberto.

We continued for another day with the pesky wasps, and it was about eleven at night, I’m sure we were watching the Olympics or something, when round came My Pyro!

“Oh, you’re here,” I said, opening the door in just my boxers.

“Yep, come to do some burning.”

“Right. Give us a sec.”

I told my wife as I grabbed a T-shirt and we went outside to see exactly what he had in mind. He was standing outside with a huge pole, like the one you use to attach a net to when you clean an Olympic swimming pool, plus an extra-long wooden pole fitted on where the net should have been. Instead of a net he had tied some rags.

In his other hand he had a can of flammable liquid.

“Where the nest?” he asked.

“Up there,” I said, pointing to the top corner of our house. “Why? What are you gonna do?”

“Just watch.”

Before I’d even had the chance to fling myself on the pole and knock it from his hands, he’d already lit the blighter and was raising it up to the wasp nest buried in the corner of the roof.

I watched with baited breath as he began to burn the corner of our house. He was determined to burn it down, which he did, as part of it fell down, along with a few very black and crispy wasps.

After about two minutes the pole became too much for him to hold, which was just as well because I didn’t fancy burning down my daughter’s bedroom, so he stopped, luckily, and we inspected the nest, which looked black enough to assume they had been destroyed, or at least scared enough to inflict any pain on my children, or us.

I thanked Mr Pyro and promised him some beers, which I still owe him, and to be fair the wasps were much better behaved after that. The nest is still there, and we’ll call Roberto round we can hunt him down. But at least Mr Pyro’s attempt did provide us with a chance to play with the kids in the afternoons.

Now that summer has gone, and the wasps, the scorching heat, sweaty bedsheets, and I don’t have to use my fan to sleep, I’m quite happy, even if I do have to go back to work. I’m not sure how many more summers we can take here in Sevilla, but if anyone else has got a better idea, then just let me know.

How did you find this summer? Have you got any tips for ridding wasps, or becoming immune to the heat?

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