This week I was going to write a column about coping strategies for man-flu given the recent bout I’ve suffered.
I’d also considered discussing the new Chinese buffet in our neighbourhood, which rather than bill itself as an ‘All You Can Eat’ buffet has challenged its customers to “eat all you can”. It may sound like the same thing but to a pedant like myself the subtle difference between ‘eating all you can’ and ‘all you can eat’ opens a host of possibilities.
Also among the possible topics for this week’s column were Lucy’s bedtime routine, flippant directions on food packaging and my theory on the new season of Homeland.
But then the biggest bee I’d ever seen in my life flew into our kitchen as I was feeding Lucy her lunch on Saturday and my wealth of ideas were put on the back burner. Before I’d even thought about how I was going to tackle the yellow and black monster I’d decided this week’s column was going to be all about my close encounter with a big bee.
At first I thought there had been a solar eclipse given that the kitchen fell dark upon the intruder’s entry.
Once I spotted the bee I gave a little gasp due to its massiveness. Karen let out a scream and ran towards the living room. Ben smiled and Lucy said, “Buzzy bee”.
I was left with two options - swot it with a newspaper or try to usher it out the door. In the end my actions fell between two stools. I attempted to swot it, but given that I was using a copy of the Portadown Times and not the altogether more reliable Lurgan Mail, I missed and caused only to anger the bee. It buzzed towards me, but diverted its course at the last moment after realising the back door was open and freedom beckoned.
Having told people about the big bee I’ve been asked by many if I got a picture. If this had been the eighties I wouldn’t have been asked for a picture. In the days before cameras became idiot-proof a person’s word would have been enough to prove they’d seen anything from a big bee to a UFO.
(I should point out when I say cameras have become idiot-proof I am referring to their ease of use, which in turn has given rise to a whole new breed of idiots who share dubious images with the world on an hourly basis.)
In fact, if it had been the eighties, there would have been no big bee in my kitchen to speak of. Eighties’ bees didn’t have an obesity problem, nor would they enter your house without knocking and politely stating their business. Bees in the eighties had manners.
Even if I’d wanted to take a picture of the bee, I’d have needed to put something like a ruler in the shot to give it a sense of scale.
Thankfully I’d neither a camera or ruler to hand. I can just picture the scene in A+E if I’d attempted such a stunt.
As the doctor inspected my heavily-swollen face he’d ask, “So what happened?”
I’d tell him, “Well, there was a gargantuan bee in my kitchen and in order to prove just how big it was I took out my phone, switched on the camera function and fetched a ruler to give the photo I was going to take a sense of perspective. The bee was up at the ceiling so I climbed on a chair to get a snap of it.”
At this point the doctor would interrupt, “Am I to presume from your swollen face that the bee stung you?”
“No,” I’d reply. “I fell off the chair and couldn’t stop myself because my hands were full.”