Saturday, 11 August 2007

Moth night

It's Moth Night, so the Grit and Dig family is off to hunt wildlife in the jungly darkness. We're joining a moth and bat walk led by Guide Mothman, who works for the parks department, and even though he knows a million and one things about moths, doesn't mind saying 'I don't know that!'

Fortunately, there isn't room in the car to take Sasha, so we can leave her behind to sink further and further into a depressive state in the cellar. I'm not sure she's enjoying this stay with us and all the little junior Grits. Perhaps if she spoke, or showed any interest in the children or her surroundings, things would improve.

In fact, we are so desperate to get out the house and away from the miserable Sasha in the cellar that Grit forgets all the torches. This means that we very quickly become dangerous when being led around small paths in the forest, spending the last part of the evening falling over, squealing 'Ouch!' and being attacked by invisible brambles. And I get worried that all the other moth walkers will probably wonder why no moths seem to be coming down tonight. It is because Grit has a phobia about being bitten by mosquitoes and catching nile fever, and has bathed the entire family in 100% concentration of Deet. To the delicate nose of a moth we are probably stinking like a manure pit situated on top of a tannery. I'm keeping quiet about the Deet, and hope no-one sniffs us out.

Mothman saves the evening, anyhow. Apart from forgetting to charge the £2 for the walk, so it's free, he equips a delighted Shark and Squirrel with bat detectors. Tiger doesn't want one in case it attracts bats that might try and eat her ears.

Mothman's also wise about anyone dressed for jungle warfare in a bottle of insect repellant and has pegged out bright white sheets lit by super-strong lights powered by a generator linked by his car to attract moths without noses. Because it's a wood in darkness, he's worried that the local dodger will nick the generator, so he's chained it to a tree. If we had a torch, the Grit family could stop tripping over the wires and pegs as they try to avoid the brambles.

All in all, and despite the leg wounds, the night is declared tip top, and we learn a lot about moths and bats. Squirrel makes a list of moths without noses, which she wants to show Sasha, who I suspect has retired early in the cellar. And everyone else goes to bed happy.

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