My 31 Day Challenge – day 18 – “what Are you afraid of?”
When I was between the ages of 4-6, we lived in Singapore.
My father was stationed there in the RAF. He worked in the area preventative medicine and hygiene. I can remember that he used to be in charge of getting rid of nasty creatures in people’s houses, or RAF buildings. I remember he came to my school once with a team of men to remove a gigantic hornets’ nest from a tree.
Another time, I have this vague memory of him telling me he found a snake curled underneath the seat of a school toilet. Why did my parents let me attend this educational establishment that was clearly over-run with dangerous creatures?
I came home from school in Singapore one day, and on the dining room table there was a live scorpion in a plastic box. As well as having jars of all sorts of dead creatures in his office, my father had a mini ‘zoo’ at his workplace, where horrible live creatures waited to be collected and released. Once, when we were living in Cyprus, his department caught a new breed of snake which ended up in London Zoo as a ‘Cyprus viper’.
One day I came into our house in Singapore, where above the door between the living room and dining room there was a grille. Tied to this grille, on a piece of long thread, and clinging to a small branch, was a large Hierodula membranacea. Have you guessed what it was? Yes! It was none other than a large Asian praying mantis! Bright green! I was fascinated! It stayed there for several days, until the most terrifying thing happened…….
The praying mantis fell onto my head! I’m physically trembling now and my stomach is churning, writing this…..
I was walking underneath our indoor zoo, and the wretched thing fell off! into my hair! I was five years old, and hysterical, as you can imagine. This is how my phobia began. As an adult, I have rarely come across any more of the mantis family, except in zoos or pet shops, but now my fear has generalised to small locusts and grasshoppers. I hate the unpredictability of them, randomly jumping out at you. We see them quite a lot in Greece when we leave the yacht and go for walks in the countryside.
There. I’ve admitted my phobia. I need to go for a lie down now!