A Tale Of Wasps

Eleanor is a good-tempered child who doesn’t normally make a fuss. It therefore came as a big surprise when, some time after the above picture was taken at yesterday’s barbecue, she let out a piercing yell and continued to cry.

Jackie soon grasped what was wrong and provided the wherewithal to reduce the distress.

For most of this week she has been set on the destruction of two nests –

one underground on the footpath across the Palm Bed

and the other in the stumpery which is after all an insect hotel.

The evening before the party the Terminator discovered, from ankle to upper thigh, beneath her jeans, upwards of 20 rapidly swelling stings and two halves of a wasp. She used up all her creams and a couple of Ibuprofen tablets overnight and bought a new supply in the morning.

She was therefore well equipped to administer anti histamine creams and to prevent vinegar being applied to the child’s sting.

Jackie’s leg was much better this morning, as was mine. Although she seems to have destroyed the nests, she has noticed that wasps are still drinking from the water fountain in the Rose Garden.

I therefore lay in wait for the thirsty visitors and photographed a few.

After lunch we took a brief forest drive.

Alongside the lane into Portmore

Jackie noticed sheep sheltering in the barren landscape, and stepped out of the car to photograph them.

She also pictured cow parsley seeds, as did I;

Additionally, I focussed on burnished bracken on the verge, and a developing sweetcorn crop.

Determined donkeys advanced steadily along the tarmac at East Boldre,

where a few ponies, having left the parched terrain opposite, tried to shelter in clusters beside the village shop, too drained of energy to care where they were putting their feet. The Janus-headed one in Matthew’s Lane did summon up the enthusiasm to make a bee-line for me in a vain search for succour.

Jackie, keen to demonstrate to our concerned readers that I am no longer confined to the passenger seat, photographed me attempting to convince my equine friend that I had nothing for her.

Normally I try to keep my shadow out of a picture, but this seemed to warrant making an exception, since the pony was too close to be kept in focus.

I stepped out of the car again opposite No 1, Sowley Lane to photograph two donkeys, one moulting, on the bend in the road. As I did so, I saw one car with a boat on a trailer approaching from the animals’ side of the road while another vehicle was about to pass them on my side. Neither could have seen or heard the other, and the first would not know he was aiming straight for two animals he could only avoid by slamming on brakes or chancing a head-on collision. I pointed and gesticulated in each direction, hoping they would get the message. Fortunately this alerted them to approach the bend especially slowly. The asses did not move.

This evening we dined on Red Chilli takeaway fare. Main course choices included Lamb Rogan Josh, Chicken Korma, Chicken Tikka Shaslick, and Naga Lamb; we shared Pilau Rice, Peshwari Naan, Plain Paratha, and Saag Bhaji, all of which was as good as ever. Jackie drank Hoegaarden; I drank more of the Bordeaux which involved opening another bottle; and Flo and Dillon drank Ribena.


  1. Great shots of the horses and donkeys! This year seems horrid for insect bites. We have hornets (which I have never seen before and their bites are horrid) and countless swarms of vicious mosquitoes. For some reason, we have zero lady bugs or dragonflies. We used to get lots of both and the dragonflies were great at controlling the mosquito population. I don’t know if the lady bugs were that good for anything other than entertaining the grandkids.

  2. I like the photo with two shadows, Derrick, and Iam glad you are walking around. I can attest to wasp stings being extremely painful, as I had one a couple of months ago. I am glad that Jackie is such a capable First Responder.

  3. Enjoyed your post. I hope Eleanora forgets all about it. I still remember stepping on one at my grandparents’ house in Perth, WA when I was five.

  4. I’ve never been stung by a wasp, but a bumblebee did some damage once. The tricky thing about bumblebees (as you probably know) is that they can sting multiple times, and mine did. I’m glad your leg’s better!

  5. Wasps are nothing to fool around with. We’re fortunate that the wasps’ nests we’ve had were relatively easy to destroy. I’m glad to see that your leg is better and you’re out and about. I love the Janus-headed pony photo!

  6. I can’t imagine having 20+ wasp stings. It’s good Jackie was not more affected, and poor Eleanor. It’s good Jackie is so capable (at everything, it seems!).
    I laughed at “the Janus-headed one.” But it’s good to see you up and about. Wonderful photos of ponies, donkeys, and landscape. It’s good you were able to avert the road disaster.

  7. I feel for Jackie and the wasp stings. She is remarkable.. Glad you to see you have become ambulatory. I love the shadow picture. I feel for the donkeys in this weather.

  8. Lovely photos, Richard! I’m glad that you are mobile again. I hope Jackie’s leg heals quickly, and the young lady’s too. I photographed a bee on my birdbath recently too but there are no known bee nests on my lot. Perhaps the animals can be kept off of the roads somehow, very dangerous.

  9. Seeing those piles of horse manure, I did wonder whether that was perhaps the secret to your wonderful garden. Daily drives into the forest to collect the bounty?

    1. Actually we don’t do that, but a local horse owner puts out bags of the stuff for anyone to collect as long as they replace the bags. We do collect some of those. Thanks a lot, Sheree

  10. A downside of maintaining a garden is finding a way to live in harmony with the likes of stinging insects. After their disappearance several years ago, I’ve recently spotted two wasps in our garden. I’m glad to have them back, but keep my distance. So glad that you’re on your feet again πŸ™‚

  11. You live in a ponies area, Derrick with a few donkeys ! ! ?
    Eleanor is a courageous girl .
    I am glad to see at last you on the pictures ! πŸ™‚
    In friendship

    1. Thanks very much, friend Michel. The New Forest, which lost many trees to shipbuilding in Tudor times, is not new – the animal owners have ancient pasturage rights allowing them to roam freely. Ponies, cattle, donkeys, sheep and pigs all have right of way on the road. We have deer, too, but they are not protected.

  12. Yikes! So painful. We, too, are having problems with biting insects, in our case, yellow jackets. They have made a nest under the back bed in our garden, and it is impossible to get to it. When we have wine on the patio, they come a’callin’, driving us inside. Trying to figure out what to about them.

  13. I am surprised that Jackie survived the multiple wasp stings so well. They can be very nasty. It was good to see you up and about again with camera in hand.

  14. Goodness — from Head Gardener to Culinary Queen, and now to First Responder, Jackie is a remarkable woman! Vinegar is an interesting solution for wasp stings — but I’ll bet that stings even more! Love the pony photos — and I’m glad you were able to avert disaster there!

  15. Poor Jackie. I hope she continues to recover. My psychotherapy offices at a local college used to have wasp nests in the ceiling that could never be properly removed. They would descend regularly from the rafters, and I kept spray in my desk door justt for them. It just became part of a normal day. Clients never seem too concerned as I was calm and dispatched them handily. If I had been stung? Or they had been? It would have been an entirely terribly different matter. I feel for Jackie. I steer clear of wasps and tarantula hawks which we have at The Holler. Tarantula Hawks have the second most painful bite in the insect world after fire ants. I have been stung by fire ants. Give my best to Jackie.

  16. I’m glad you’re up and about and able to gesticulate on behalf of the donkeys. So sorry about the wasp stings. We have what I think is a ?paper wasp nest hanging above our back door and off to the side. So far, they’ve not bothered anyone, so I’m hoping to leave it there until winter. Wasps down in the ground or where people/pets walk would not be acceptable.

  17. The Janus-headed horse is a fantastic photograph! We find wasps and bees drinking from our bird baths in summer too whenever the weather is particularly hot and dry. I also like the shadow image: here, some donkeys almost knock one over if they think you are a soft touch for a carrot or two!

  18. I’m glad you label your pictures. I was really concerned about what was going on with a donkey, and then found it was only moulting. Is this the usul time of the year for this to happen.

    Jackie, now I know why there were wasps in my dreams ;ast night! It was a foreshadowing of what happened to you and Eleanor.

  19. Oh, poor Jackie! And poor Eleanor! I know from experience…wasp stings hurt! πŸ™
    So glad your leg is better, Derrick, and you are out and about…seeing so many sweet animals and conversing with equine friends! πŸ™‚
    Beautiful photos today, Jackie and Derrick!
    The shadow photo of Derrick and pony is my fave photo!
    And you know the donkey photos always bring me smiles! πŸ™‚
    (((HUGS))) ❀️❀️

  20. And another few days hit the dust…Poor girl re the wasps…Ouch, but good photos and encounter with the parched donkeys. Here in Spain, it hovered over 39 degrees again, so we mostly stayed indoors. read, and I typed…watched some TV and drank lots of water…Frazzled! Cheers.

      1. Thankfully, we are nearer the Med. Derrick. Even hotter in land…a no-no for me! Our usual climate is really pleasant, but what’s ‘usual’ any more?! Hey ho.

  21. Oh, my! Wasps are mean! There was some buzzing around our plants this past spring along with the wood boring bees. I’m glad you’re walking around again.

  22. I am glad you were able to avert disaster with the two vehicles and the donkeys!

    That was a wonderful catch of the Janus-headed pony. -)

    I am sorry to hear about the wasp stings. They are painful. Your wasps look like what we call “yellow jackets” here. There are about 15 different species of them in our area. They can be quite ornery during grape harvest.

    1. I was once told that one overwintering yellow jacket queen can produce about 5000 yellow jackets during the summer season. Look for the queens during winter. They are much bigger.

  23. Wasps can be a real pain… And we have plenty this year.
    I loved the donkey pictures very well. It reminds me of the wild donkeys in Cyprus.

  24. Wasp stings are terrible. I really dislike them and don’t know what is their role as they don’t produce honey unlike bees. I have a bracelet which I use during my travels to Africa against mosquitoes. It seems that there is something similar with the frequency for wasps.

  25. Awww I feel for Elenore, wasps can be mean and their sting is really painful…. hope she soon recovers… <3 Loved the rest of the photos Derrick.. Like the shadow one too

  26. Ouch!!! that must have really hurt. I did not know wasps made nests on the ground. I have always seen them hanging on the rafter overhangs or under porches.
    Beautiful shots of the ponies… and you of course!

  27. That is charming portrait of Eleanor, which confirms her calm nature. Of course, a wasp sting can make even the stoutest of us yelp! The operation to terminate the wasps appears to have been successful with marginal collateral damage. I’ve too, in past fought intense battles with wasps, in which I had deployed long sticks with burning jute at the enemy end β€”extremely effective in most cases.

Leave a Reply