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PS: Peter Sampson has the last word...

PUBLISHED: 17:05 20 September 2011 | UPDATED: 20:01 20 February 2013

PS: Peter Sampson has the last word...

PS: Peter Sampson has the last word...

Once you've trodden on a frog, even Suffolk wildlife loses its charm says our columnist

Once you've trodden on a frog, even Suffolk wildlife loses its charm says our columnist





I think I know what the inhabitants of Mafeking must have felt like during the siege, knowing every day that they were under attack from ravening hordes of beings out to get them, determined to take over their homes and houses come what may. Rorkes Drift Troy, even have nothing on what happens to us every summer.


It comes with living in Suffolk, I suppose, surrounded by all those open fields and shady hedgerows and the undergrowth of copses. Admittedly, our attackers dont carry spears and shields and thunder along in chariots but theyre a threat and a menace all the same. It must be something to do with Suffolk, because it didnt seem to happen in any of the other places where weve lived.


Im talking, of course, of things like ants, flies, ladybirds, mice, wasps, frogs and all the rest of Suffolks repertoire of sinister creep-crawlies.


You may laugh and snort dismissively. Those of you who are horny-handed sons of the soil, deeply in touch with the great natural rhythms of the earth (and there arent many of you left in the county) will no doubt sneer contemptuously. "Townies!" you will jeer. "Niminy-piminy, namby-pamby, Guardian-reading, urban softies!"


Maybe but Ill bet youve never had to bend double day after day to chase hordes of little baby frogs, each the size of a tenpenny piece, as they flop their hoppity way across the conservatory floor while you try to catch them in an old biscuit tin in order to drop them somewhere outside in the garden. "Somewhere nice," your wife insists.


Where on earth do they come from?


And where do ladybirds come from? And in such numbers, too. One year, every ladybird in Suffolk congregated for what we assumed was some sort of ladybird Glastonbury Festival in one of our bedroom windows. Up and down they wandered, crawling over each other, peering out of nooks and crannies and parachuting gleefully on to the bedroom carpet.


Now, you cant kill ladybirds any more than you can kill baby frogs. I mean, you canbut you just cant, can you? All you can do is fling open the window and sort of shoo them out at regular intervals. Ten minutes later there they all are again.


Thankfully, there are no such moral qualms when it comes to ants. Theyre nasty little things that appear about teatime every day as regularly as clockwork, spreading like a black stain on the parquet floor or stomping up the pantry door in long columns like something out of a Tom-and-Jerry cartoon. Still, with ants, all it takes is a quick spurt of the ant-killer spray you raced out to buy from the garden centre at the weekend and, bingo, theyre on their way to the great ant-heap in the sky.


Weve had a bat that came down the chimney, hornets that crawled across the carpet and a mouse family that nested in an unused chest-of-drawers. Once, we had a pantry seething with wasps and we had to call in reinforcements, in the form of a man in a sort of space suit who charged us 30 to get rid of them.


Thats the trouble with Suffolk its got too much wild life and most of it is wild life that thinks it has every right to invade the chaste and spotless privacy of your home. It wouldnt be so bad if it confined itself to ruining the odd picnic or two and so getting rid of that silly nymphs-and-shepherds image of arcadian bliss that you see on the fashion pages.


But when youve once trodden on a baby frog, wild life even Suffolk wild life rather loses its charm.


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