01 June 2011

The Holly and the Ivy

Don’t worry, it isn’t Christmas yet!

After the recent heat wave we’re now back to cold winds and rain and my bungalow has returned to winter conditions, that means freezing. I am so tempted to switch on the central heating. The sun did come out for half an hour and as it’s usually warmer out than in I ventured outside to cut back the holly.

A thick holly bush grows beneath my bedroom window, a leftover from previous tenants. We let it stay, thinking it was an ideal way of stopping burglars climbing through even a small open window. That’s a joke, it didn’t stop my stepson getting in when all else failed. The knack is to reach inside the little window and grab the handle of the bigger window. Simple! It taught us a lesson, if it was that easy then we must also lock the windows. Thank goodness I bought that fan! But back to the holly bush…..

… which is how I came to find the ivy. It was like a vine, tendrils trailing everywhere, including the window sill. Next stop, the upper window frame! It must have been hiding for years at the back of the holly and is only now emerging. I got stuck in.

First of all I had to get a grabber because I couldn’t reach the back of the holly. Using the grabber I leaned across and pulled and tugged until I got a grip on a sturdy shoot of ivy. Pulling that resulted in a shower of ants and tiny black flies to land on my arms. Ugh! I had visions of the damn things getting through the window into my bedroom and Ugh! into my bed. Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!

Every year we get ant nests in the paved drive but they’re harmless buried under their respective heaps of sand dug out from between the slabs. They’re the flying ants and when ready they fly off. No problem. I’ve always looked on these as being educational, I could often be found crouching down watching the ants at work. This is all a bit strange but there you go. What more do you want for nothing? Beauty and the Beast?

The little monsters in the hedge are slightly different to the soon-to-be flying ants. These are stingers. The blighters even got inside my gloves and oh boy did they sting. They were running all over my arm. I’m not sure if I actually screamed but a couple of neighbours put in an appearance so I must have made some kind of noise. The man next door was good, he swiped my arm (ouch) in such a way most of the the ants fell off. He was a little more gentle when he got rid of the rest. I cringe just thinking about it.

All this reminded me of an occasion when hundreds of black flies covered a lovely yellow dress, yes, while I was wearing it. I was on my way home from work when it happened and still had a long way to go. I tried batting the flies off but there were too many of them. I ran screeching hysterically all the way home and couldn’t wait to get in the shower Someone told me afterwards that flies love yellow. Would you believe I never wore that colour again? That’s how I felt working amongst the holly and I swear to you, NEVER AGAIN. The holly can grow up to the roof for all I care, I am NOT going to cut it down. If the job needs doing my Guy can do it … see if he likes it.

You should see the scratches on my arms; they look as if I’ve been attacked by a lunatic with a razor. Please pray that the heat wave doesn’t return until all insects are safely out of the way because sunshine just makes me want to get out.


  1. I guess that is why I am such a lunatic on the mower.. easier for me to just mow over things than tackle removing them and getting bitten
    by insects or scratched by plants..

    Happy Thursday Val... almost the
    weekend ( again )

  2. Hello Val, you and I must be on the same wavelength, I spent the last 2 days cutting back several hollies along the back of the garden. They have hugely long whippy "branches" which I shortened right up. The ones I did last autumn have regrown like mad.
    I agree, it has been very cold indoors, we lit the fire on several occasions!
    Hope your ant bites have lost their sting now.

  3. oh my goodness...ack on the flies and the ants, though i could probably turn it into a great story...smiles. glad you made it through though...

  4. Yup! These are the two things I don't like about summer - the heat and BUGS!!!!

    OMG...we just experienced a tremendous heatwave too, Valerie. It went from being in the cool 60's to 98 in matter of days. Yesterday, I thought I was going to die walking to work. I looked like a drowned rat by the time I got there. Gratefully, the temps. went back down into the 70's today - whew!

    And speaking of bug bites, I was once attacked by a colony of red ants while living in Florida. It took weeks for the red marks on my ankles to go away!

    Have a FAB Thursday, dear lady. And stay away from those lunatics with a razor - HA!


  5. Get yourself covered from head to food Valerie the heatwave has arrived! :0

  6. I once fell into an anthill full of stinging ants. Not an experience I'd care to repeat. I do agree that it can be fascinating watching ants, though.

  7. You had such beautiful weather and June in Scotland is usually quite nice, is it the same way in England? Sounds like you got a good days work done my friend, hope your sun comes back soon...Hugs

  8. Oh Val! Sounds awful. The holly bush looks so pretty, but you better just let it go! Those ants sound terrible. I got bit by spiders while I was cleaning out under my rhody bushes last week. It's definitely dangerous dirty work, isn't it?


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