Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Tonight a tiny bug flew into my eye, while I was lying on the sofa, busily staring out of the window. This was very painful, and also quite disappointing. Just two nights ago, a gecko was running across the wall of our bedroom and staring at us: we didn't throw a shoe at him or make him feel unwelcome. And yet the lizards don't seem to be keeping their side of the bargain: our flat is once more a happy place for insects.

It's not just the eye-bound bugs. There's the cloud of fruit flies that rise up every time I open the bin. There were the little black things that writhed on the floor the other day, until I beat them back with shoe and mop. And these are just the ones I've seen. Like a sniper, the bugs that get you are the ones you don't even know are out there.
Perhaps the geckos are doing their best. Perhaps we're so rotten with flies that no matter how many they eat, there's more. But I don't see fat geckos waddling across our floor, satiated on a protein-rich diet of roaches. Somebody is not pulling their weight, evidently.
I could swallow the flies myself, but we all know how that escapade ends up: and it's prohibitively expensive to buy a horse to eat in Singapore. Apparently in Europe it's much easier - horse is a free ingredient in your Findus crispy pancake - but not so out in Asia.
Last night I chortled greatly as I read Hilary Mantel's speech about the treatment of Royal women over the years. Not everyone was so amused: I looked at the news today to see a great hue and cry about how nobody can say anything that might be in the slightest bit critical of William's wife (or that Ms Mantel is not allowed to say anything because she isn't as pretty as Kate). It felt like an episode of people ragewanking themselves into a frenzy, when Mantel was saying that the bigger problems are with how we view the Royals, and how the system defines roles for their women, rather than the problems being the women themselves.

But that may be lost in the noise for a while. As long as more people hear of the London Review of Books, I'll be happy.

And now I go to remove this fly from my eye, or whatever remains of it.


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