22 Nov 2013

Bugs and storms

Metallic Bug, NSW, Picture courtesy
of Toby Hudson
As heavy rain fell on Newcastle this morning, I searched online to find out what the weather conditions are going to be in the next few hours, in case any roads may get flooded or continuous heavy rain means it's better to stay home today.

When I lived in London there was the odd occasion when snow made getting about almost impossible. In my home town, Guadalajara, there would also be a week or two a year when ice and snow would make it impossible to get anywhere without risking a nasty fall. Schools would then be closed and children would be free to roam the streets having snowball fights. However,these conditions happened rarely and I lived in urban areas where there was never a risk of flood or fire, unlike a lot of places in Australia.

So, living here means acquiring a few new habits and skills.

This week I discovered a "colony" of beetle-like creatures on one of my garden trees. I found it quite...off-putting and sprayed some insecticide over the little bugs...only to discover later, thanks to my friend, the internet, that these bugs eject a caustic fluid when you bother them. Ehem, well, thankfully they didn't do it this time.

I grew up far from the country and never had a garden till I came here, so there's a whole lot of stuff that I still need to get used to. I think that in Europe we don't tend to share so much space with nature,partially because of the way cities have been built but also because of the different characteristics of plants and fauna. Here though, several types of birds (some of them very noisy) visit my garden every day, as well as a blue-tongue lizard and I carry what my husband describes as a constant "battle" against the different insects and spiders that I keep finding in my house.

Last year I was excited to see a grasshopper, till I realised it was part of a pest of locusts destroying my plants.

I recently found a frog in my garden. When I was a child it was common to get frogs as pets (there was a school mate who was a keen frog supplier), so I'm not scared of them but I approached this one with care. Who knows, maybe Australian frogs eject darts out of their eyes or something similar...I'll need to do a crash course on Australian creatures.