Tuesday 17 May 2011

Ants – storm troupers extraordinary!

The bug of my life!  5AM this morning hosing down the bathroom without a hose!
The storms last night must have disturbed an ant nest outside and in their search for a new abode they had come in through the slatted glass which constitutes a bathroom window and run riot over3 walls, two corners worth and a couple of feet of ceiling, all  the floor, finding heaven in the squat toilet and my two basins of clothes and floor cloths soaking in detergent!
So the best way to clear up is just to hose it all down! Simples! Well yes if you have a hose, and yes if you have water.
The water tap, of course, is the other side of the bathroom to the door, so one has to cross the ant covered floor to get to it. How far can ant ant get up your body in the time it takes for two steps? Answer – annoyingly far! especially when one reacts quite badly to ant bites.
This morning the water taps runs dry almost instantly!  I go outside and switch the pump on. Nothing! Curses abound, as I realise no one filled the water tank last night. My landlady and her daughter are away , so there is only “uncle” who is house sitting and me. So we shouldn’t need to fill it every day, except that the workmen are building the second storey to the house. This means the water tank has been moved to a temporary position and the plastic pipe filing it is loose, not fixed down, and is most often to be found up on the new roof being used to provide water for mixing with sand and cement to prepare the mortar for the brick work, or to hose down the new works to “cure” the plaster work on the walls. No one tends to go  on to the roof after dark as it can be a bit of an obstacle course up through the bamboo pole  scaffolding, over the piles of sand, piles of sticks, which are used to provide temporary support when constructing  shelves, roofs etc, and piles of general builders rumble, broken bricks and tools. Also there is no retaining wall edging the roof. Not a tidy site! Certainly not one which would pass a Safety inspection in the UK!
Up on the roof I locate the hose and start to fling it over the side of the house to get it down one flight to where the water tank is. Curses abound again! There is a three foot high, six feet wide pile of sand astride the piping!  Pulling with all my weight I cannot shift the pipe. Thinking only one line of pipe is below the sand I try and move some with my foot. The pipe is well and truly stuck. I have visions of me pulling so hard, it suddenly coming free, me stumbling backwards over the edge!  mmmm, better get some tool to move the sand, me thinks.
By now its about 5:30AM so luckily still not too hot for my spot of manual labour. I can’t imagine what the man  on the bike thinks as he passes and sees me  shovelling sand. Its the first time I’ve used one of those ubiquitous very short handled, large inverted headed hoe I see every building site worker with. Excellent tool for the job. It takes me probably a good 10 minutes to remove enough of the sand to free the trapped pipe. No snakes found hiding away anywhere. Phew!
I fling the pipe over, go down one flight, fix it back into the water tank, Go back down to house level and switch on the pump. Ten minutes later I can switch it off and have lots of water.
My clean on only this weekend set of pyjamas are now, sweaty, sandy and anty!
So back to the original problem, the ants . Having done this part before I know the only way to to do it is a la Gok, to strip off else the blighters get into the weave of your clothes and you can’t get then out. Also you are going to get soaking wet anyways as you water fight the invasion. So I spend the next 20 minutes or so with water tap constantly running onto the floor, with small jug in hand, endlessly refilling in and flinging it against the windows, the ceiling, the walls, whilst ducking in and out of the shower in an attempt not to get too many bites.
I also have to rinse my washing that was soaking, to free the ants stuck in the basins and the masses of dead soldiers sacrificed in a vane effort to cross the water. After several rinses I am sure none remain.
Its approaching 6:30 AM when finally I decide I have won and the ants have retreated! Yes! Time for a proper shower. 
As I write this blog before breakfast I think I have managed to get away a with only a few bites on my feet and legs but I know that all day I shall be feeling  the ghostly itch of ants passed , a bit like lost limb syndrome! What a way to start the day!


  1. Brilliant - love it Sheila!

    I had an ant invasion a month or so ago. Came home to find them merrily marching to and from the balcony, through my kitchen, weirdly disappearing down the waste pipe of my sink. Don't forget the power of washing up liquid next time - kills them good and proper ;-)

  2. I looove it! You are brilliant. And darn ants...