I was terrified of thunderstorms as a child. In fact, I still am (scared of thunderstorms, not a child). The flash of lightning would lead to the imminent thunder, and whilst living in one of the safest places in the UK for thunder (Crystal Palace has a huge lightning rod called the TV transmitters) it would still leave a bad smell in a thunder storm.
The other problem I had with where we lived when I was young was living in a former large wood. This meant that tree pollen/ivy/general greenery was prominent in the area, and as such in the summer the area would become infested with wasps. This is something my father would testify to, having to call in Rentokil a couple of times to remove large wasp nests from our loft.
It must have been about June, and maybe 1977/78. There was a thunderstorm in the middle of the night, and wasps being God's little creations, don't come with raincoats. This meant they headed for shelter in the nearest available place, and in a handful of cases, this place was our bathroom. As the occasional flash and distant rumble would be heard, I got up in my panic and went into the bathroom for a pee before I made a mess elsewhere. It must have been the early hours, because it was still very dark outside. In my half panic, half slumbered state, I pulled up my pyjama bottoms and returned to bed.
The next morning I went downstairs and laid out on the settee, whilst my sister fussed around and my father got ready for work. My mother, meanwhile, was preparing everyone's breakfast. As I lay there, I could feel an itch on one of my bum cheeks. I scratched it, but it wouldn't go away. I called out...
Anybody, really at that point would have been welcome. As I leapt from the faux red leather recliner, in immense pain, I spun round to see a wasp fall to the floor. Now dead, it had stung itself inside out, and mostly in my rear. I seem to remember a sting in each cheek, and one at the top of my Dagenham Cleavage. My mother, doing the mothering thing, kept me off school. I seem to remember lying there, on my parent's bed, with my bare arse in the air. Germolene was at the ready, and I remember at lunchtime my mother taking a phonecall from my father and (understandably) stifling the laughter at the young bike stand on her bed. My sister apparently returned home from school, and got all the neighbourhood kids to come and see the boy with the three angry red spots on his backside. *Scaryduck addition* I was then sick inna hedge. Bright yellow and black vomit.
I, meanwhile, never recovered fully from my first, and coincidentally last, wasp sting. My sister still finds it funny though.
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