Saturday, 21 May 2011

Albino Carmine

Ah, May on the Thames. Sounds delightful. IS delightful, but for the tiny issue of insects. The few of you who read my blog last year might remember the description of the mayflies both alive and dead sticking to the sides and bows of the boat, making it impossible to keep clean. The same is true this year, but we've noticed something slightly more unsettling in addition - spawn of these insects. Whether they're mayflies, dragonflies or another creature of that ilk, I couldn't say, but for the past couple of weeks we've been blinded and smothered (metaphors, don't worry) by screeds of minuscule pale white efforts all over the outside of the boat - windows, doors, everywhere. Only a few millimetres long, they have fully formed bodies and legs (undetectable wings but they may be there, or forming) and look like baby skeletons of whichever flying insect they are soon to become. En masse, quite disturbing on first glance. 

This evening I had settled in my cabin to read a book but remembered I'd forgotten to brush my teeth. We haven't had a sink installed in our "quarters" yet so Debbie and I need to head back outside to climb into the main part of the boat for that kind of thing. Anyway, I leapt up and tiptoed in my socks along the side of the boat, from the very back to the side hatch around halfway down (at night, this needs to be done on the water side, as James locks the towpath-side hatch from the inside). I went into the bathroom, cleaned my teeth and, since I was in there anyway, double-checked the kitchen for things I'd forgotten to do or needed for tomorrow. In the bathroom and along the hall I had felt my feet sticking to the floor. Did we forget to sweep and mop today? I wondered. I wasn't about to do it then, so I left again to get to my cabin. My feet were now sticking to the side of the boat, too. Odd. When I got back to the cabin I sat down and discovered the truth - scores of white miniature insect skeletons, crushed and squashed onto my socks.

Definitely the last time I go out without shoes on.

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