I inadvertently disturbed a wasp’s nest in the compost heap at the allotment today. Someone told me a couple of weeks ago there was a wasp’s nest in my compost heap but somehow this information failed to make it to my brain as I hacked into weeds growing around the base. At first I thought it was stinging nettle then I looked and there was a wasp and another and by the time I remembered about the nest I was in a cloud of wasps.
I briefly wondered what the best thing to do is when you find yourself in this situation. Do you stay very still and wait for them to fly off you or do you run away and panic and freak out? I’m not sure what the official advice is but I chose the latter and went tearing from my plot shrieking and flailing my arms all over the place. At one point I looked down and there must have been at least a dozen wasps on my shoes so I discarded them and kept running. My socks were wet and muddy by the time I’d had a chance to think about whether that was a good decision or not.
I was only stung three times in the end which is not too bad considering. One of the buggers even managed to sting me through my denim jeans. Eventually they abandoned my shoes and I was able to put them on again sans socks. This is my second encounter with wasps in less than a month when one of them stung me on the lip. I wonder if there are more of them about this year?
We’re currently reading When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr. It’s based on Kerr’s own experience as a German Jewish child fleeing Nazi Germany. Judith Kerr is something of a national treasure in the UK, having written a children’s picture book that is now famous here: The Tiger Who Came to Tea. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is very good and we’re all enjoying it.
The UK inherited lots of talented Jews feeling Germany during the second world war. In addition to Judith Kerr there’s also the German Jewish inventor, Max Gort-Barten. He also fled the Nazis, came to Britain, and started Dualit, manufacturer of toasters. Dualit toasters are to this day very popular and still manufactured in Britain.
Another is Cornelia James, an Austrian Jew who fled the Nazis for Britain and started making gloves. Cornelia James gloves became a favourite of the Queen who issued a Royal Warrant to the company to supply gloves. The gloves are still owned by the family and manufactured in East Sussex in Britain.
These are just the few I know about so I thought I’d have a look to see how many others there are and lots of refugees in general go on to do great things in the countries they adopt. I imagine their experience and the desperate situation they find themselves in likely provides a strong incentive for someone to work hard, take risks, and succeed against all odds.
Speaking of refugees, readers of my blog who have followed the Nowzad animal shelter rescue from Afghanistan will be pleased to hear the Nowzad staff have all managed to flee Afghanistan and are safely ensconced in the British High Commission in Islamabad. This is such terrific news and I for one didn’t have high hopes they’d make it out of there but they did and they’re all safe and well and will soon come to the UK. Such happy news but sad also for Afghanistan which has seen a huge brain drain over the past few months. It can’t be good for the country long-term to lose so many good people.