A belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you, otterlings! I do apologise for my absence. I'd love to claim that it was due to some sort of extravagant holiday, or perhaps a financial windfall, but in fact it was due to the twin facts that I recently started playing Mass Effect 2 and the Sloth began playing her Christmas present of L.A. Noire. Both of these things have, amongst much else, been taking up our time recently.
You may recall from the last couple of posts that I have now moved in with my adorable little Sloth. I occasionally wish we had cameras stationed around the house, because our conversations appear to end up (quite unintentionally) rather hilarious. I suggested that we start a podcast but suspect it will never materialise. Ain't nobody got time for that when there's games to be played. One particular incident however has been repeating itself for a few months now. We have been infiltrated.
Depending on how long you've been reading this blog, you may recall that several times I listed my greatest fears (camels and balloons are among the top contenders). The creatures my friends are now forced to refer to as 'kittens' (please see here for more information - http://witandpendulum.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/uninvited-houseguests.html) are not, fortunately, my current problem. Since the flat is pretty much a 'kitten'-free zone (excepting the downstairs exit, which is home to one large 'kitten', and which means I have to hurtle out of the tiny doorway in case it manages to leap on me and, y'know, stroke my face and mutter "Hello... Clarice" which I suspect it knows full well is the stuff of my nightmares) I have let my guard down a little. I occasionally walk around with no socks on. If one of the cats is chewing something in a corner, I don't immediately check for little legs strewn around the floor. Small clumps of dust no longer make me double-take or yelp in terror. It is quite nice, all things considered.
A few months ago, Sloth pointed out a ladybird buzzing around the kitchen. I admired it while she puzzled about where it had come from. I waved my hands around casually and said things like "who cares" and "aww, it's cute" and "what's wrong with you?" Sloth said nothing further but remained suspicious. Another one popped up a few days later. I suggested perhaps it was the same one, but the look on her face told me that the first ladybird had not been allowed the mercy of the Geneva Convention. I repeated my previous statements, adding that there were plenty of things to be afraid of in this world but ladybirds are not terribly high on anybody's list. Sloth looked unconvinced, but was unable to do anything other than dispose of the second ladybird and get increasing pissy about it. I figured that was the end of it.
How wrong I was. How wrong I inevitably am, especially when it comes to stuff like this. I will be the first to admit my failing in this respect, and if somebody engraves "She Said It Was 'Probably Fine'" on my tombstone, I imagine they will not be far off from either my general life philosophy or my last ever sentence.
The ladybirds have at least not come in packs, but so far we've had seven. We have no idea where any of them have come from. We live next to the sea. We live on the second floor. There is relatively little garden near by. One of them was black, but I do not know whether he was nominated as a token appearance by the other ladybirds or whether he was their leader.
Sloth: (raging) WHERE ARE THEY COMING FROM?
Me: Sweetheart, they're just ladybirds. The cats will eat them.
We watched one of our cats follow a ladybird over the floor with interest for ten whole minutes. He then sat down and fell asleep next to it, which was hardly the Attenborough style hunter-prey action we'd been hoping for.
Sloth: I don't want them here.
Me: Well, there doesn't appear to be a lot we can do about it. It's only an infestation of ladybirds. It's hardly the start of a James Herbert book.
Sloth: But how are they getting in? It's the middle of winter! WHY AREN'T THEY ALL DEAD? I WANT THEM TO BE DEAD.
Me: Um. You do realise that this is the gayest possible infestation, right? Other people get flooded, or have 'kittens' or locusts or squid. Or whatever. And we have ladybirds.
Sloth: (sulkily) Fabulous.
Me: (z-snapping) Exactly.
As a PS to this blog post, I'd like to add that the ladybird is connected with religious symbolism in many countries, owing to being associated with the Virgin Mary, and is therefore usually appropriately named in various European languages. With this in mind, the Polish name is "boza krówka" which Wikipedia informs me is translated as "God's (little) cow". Oh Poland. Don't go changing.