Monday, December 10, 2012

Beautiful Bug Boys

Last night, happily curled in bed reading to my Poppet, I smiled genially as my Sprocket ran up to show me his newest treasure.
"Look, Mummy!" he said.
And thrust a large brown bug in my face.
And then dropped it, somewhere in my bed.
And while I strongly suggested the bug would be happier with its own family, outside, the incident reminded me of one of my all time favourite books, and what I might have in store.

This is an excerpt from My Family and Other Animals, by Gerard Durrell. My Family and Other Animals recounts Durrell's adventures as a small, animal-loving boy living with his exuberant family in Corfu in the 1930s. It is sun-drenched and glorious. And Gerry really did grow up to have his own zoo.

Then one day I found a fat female scorpion in the wall, wearing what at first glance appeared to be a pale fawn fur coat. Closer inspection proved that this strange garment was made up of a mass of tiny babies clinging to their mother's back. I was enraptured by this family, and I made up my mind to smuggle them into the house and up to my bedroom so that I might keep them and watch them grow up. 
With infinite care I manoeuvred the mother and family into a matchbox, and then hurried to the villa. It was rather unfortunate that just as I opened the door lunch should be served; however, I placed the matchbox carefully on the mantlepiece in the drawing room, so the scorpions should get plenty of air, and made my way to the dining room and joined my family for the meal. Dawdling over my food, feeding Roger surreptitiously under the table and listening to my family arguing, I completely forgot about my exciting new captures. At last Larry, having finished, fetched the cigarettes from drawing-room, and lying back in his chair he put one in his mouth and picked up the matchbox he had brought. Oblivious to my impending doom I watched him interestedly as, still talking glibly, he opened the matchbox. 
Now I maintain to this day the female scorpion meant no harm...

There follows a hilarious description of his family under attack by scorpions, his mother being drenched in water meant for the scorpions, the dog biting the only stranger in the room, scorpion babies 'scattered like confetti' across the table... and general chaos.

Considering that a few days ago my Sprocket came running to me holding a large black spider, saying "Look, Mummy, dangerous, don't touch," it's probably a good thing I find My Family and Other Animals so funny.
I always wanted my own beautiful bug boy, just like Gerry. And look, I got one!

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