Wednesday, 8 June 2011
The rain in South Wales has saved me this year - no not from a hosepipe ban, from having a stream of ants wandering through the house. Last year there was a well established trade route between our recycling food bin, the biscuit cupboard and a local ants' nest, leading to intense religious debate.
The Piglet wanted to stamp on the ants stealing her favourite biscuits, or even better wash them away with the hosepipe. (Anything involving spraying water everywhere is a Good Thing in the Piglet cosmos.) I refused to do this, or put out ant poison (which for some reason is sold under the name 'Nippon' with orientalist Japanese bamboo-style writing on it), on the grounds that we are buddhists and respect other life forms. Instead, I cleaned all the cupboards out and scolded other family members about scattering crumbs in the house.
I did intend to move onto the ant poison eventually, but amazingly my tactics succeeded! Our kitchen was ant free shortly after I had finished wiping out all the cupboards and surfaces (first time it had been done since we moved in; took about a week as I had to stop every so often to email an explanation why my chapter for an edited collection on Islam was going to be late).
We also of course had greenfly in the garden on our newly planted rose bushes. We only have three rose bushes, so there's no need to go bonkers with the pesticide, we can be condescendingly organic about pest control on our roses. I just pinch off the mass of green, ensuring that I squash the bugs while not harming the lovely roses. The Piglet followed me round as I did this with a frown on her face, questioning how this could fit with the principle of respect for all life. Do not the greenfly share this space with us as the ants do? I pointed out that we had a choice here: greenfly or roses, and that I was merely being pragmatic about how I applied my religious tolerance of life in all its manifestly beautiful forms. The Piglet chose to disagree.
"Mum," she said, "you are a bad buddhist."