Last day in conference uneventful. Saturday night, I got a second early night. I was (and am still) feeling full of flu, not at all sociable, and not particularly hungry, so I got a sandwich and an early night. Well, that was the plan, but I got gripped by my book and didn’t turn the light off til gone 3am. Which meant doing anything other than breakfast and the leader’s speech this morning was out of the q.
Ming was much better than I expected: confident, witty, comprehensible, lots of sharp political points. The speech sounded like it might be better than some of the material that has already been circulated. Somehow in the hall I ended up sitting next to someone who had a typed copy of the speech in front of him as Ming was delivering it. A few years ago, it could have been me: there used to be a conference newspaper that we produced twice a day during conference. Riso would lend us a duplicator to print it on. The last edition was usually the leader’s speech in full, laid out and printed in its thousands barely 30 minutes before the speech began. There was a race against time to typeset, print, collate if it went onto more than one A3 sheet, so that we could hand it out to delegates as they left the hall after the standing ovation.
Afterwards, left the conference centre and bumped into Wendy Johnson and the devastatingly handsome group of men she often has with her at conference, including the Very Lovely Mike. Wendy says Rob says by text message Wendy and Mike were in a cutaway-shot on News24 chatting during the leader’s speech when they were supposed to be applauding. VLM v kindly says he used to like my hair, but I don’t otherwise get enough of a chance to talk to him this time around.
Well, there’s one reason to go to Brighton…
Uneventful journey home, driving through bright sunshine. M1/A1 almost all the way, easily home by 3.
To find, on my desk, drowned in the dregs of one of the coffee cups, a dead spider. Urgh. Report this to P when he comes home, and much handwringing ensues. “Oh no! Is it Horace?”
Apparently the spiders in the house have names. Names that are not “Yargh, where’s the hoover?”
Horace, it transpires, has been living around the landing/bathroom for a few weeks. We check the ceiling. Horace is fine, but he’s moved across the threshold into my room, and found a friend. It’s a third, but similar spider to both of the others that’s wound up dead in one of my mugs.
Tonights episode of CSI:NY didn’t help: it was all about eating creepy-crawlies. Including tarantula tempura. Urgh. My stomach is feeling distinctly unsettled.
Finally, while both of us are in the house together, pluck up the enthusiasm to go into the attic and look for the wasps’ nests. When we had our loft insulated, the surveyor warned us there were six small tennis-ball sized sacs where wasp queens were over-wintering. If we get rid of them now, it’s a simple case of knocking the nests into bags and binning them. If we wait later in the year, they will become active and much more dangerous.
I hate the attic. P, who doesn’t have a head for heights, hasn’t been up there at all. It’s completely unlike the attic of my parents’ house, built in the 90s, with large rafters and a fitted light. It’s dark. Splinters come off the roof beams. The rafters are barely a foot apart and not very deep. The space has hardly been used for anything in the 70 years this house has been here, so it is beyond filthy. There are weird wires dangling around (an antenna?) It has now been insulated, and the insulation material is prickly asbestos. Worse, it has just been laid on top of the rafters, so you can no longer see where it is safe to tread and where not.
We heft a large MDF board into the attic to lay on top of the insulation so that I can crawl to the nearest visible tennis ball. I have to crawl holding a fluorescent tube in one hand like a light sabre. When I finally get there, I can see that the nest is very old indeed. It’s probably been there undisturbed for a decade. It’s broken around the middle and empty. After the effort of getting up there it’s a bit of a disappointment.
I give up trying to get to the other visible one. It’s completely the far side of the attic. If it too isn’t long since dead, pest control can come and deal with it if it becomes a problem. As for the other four which the surveyor saw but I can’t make out using my tube light — we’ll just have to hope that being smothered in asbestos has done for them.
Bah. On with the week. And on with trying to shake the nasty suspicion that the spider was in the coffee all along, and didn’t drown in dregs after I put the cup down…