The StingSaturday 15th July 2000
AS I CLIP BACK the vegetation behind the pond I keep catching the back of my hand on Stinging Nettles, which seem to lurk where you don't expect to come across them. Suddenly I get a much sharper sting and I notice insects in the air. Without waiting to see what they are, I throw down my shears, leap backwards over the lawnmower and go inside to get a dab of antihistamine cream.
It could have been a lot worse I could have stood on the nest, which appears to be beneath a tussock of sedge, rather than hacked around it. My drawing (right) shows the beginnings of a wasp's nest which a neighbour found in his attic and brought to me to identify.
A few years ago we had a Wasps nest in a blue tit box by the patio windows and reluctantly decided to have it removed, by the use of a cyanide tablet. I've always felt guilty about that, I later realised I could have tried to relocate them. So this time I'll try and live with my wasp neighbours.
I also disturb several largish Frogs as I work.
As I open the garage doors, a large moth flutters out and lands on my sleeve. I take a close look at its grey-brown patterned wings, looking for some definite marking, such as a 'heart-and-dart' or a 'silver-Y' that might help me identify it. Nothing.
Then it flies away and seems to burst into glowing colour. It's a Large Yellow Underwing.