A mystery solved.

Well, I have not been forthcoming with my blogs of late, partly because there are not enough hours even during the long summer days. Things have calmed down a bit now, summer exhibitions are over. I have taken down the latest exhibition, minus the paintings that sold, and the rest are now stored in my studio.

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Yesterday, I changed over a few works in the local shop, where they have sold quite well, which is nice. The gite is still booked until mid October. Bed and breakfasts have not been busy of late, but I am quite relieved what with everything else going on. The job at Mussidan is completed, now we have to wait for the insurance company to pay up.

Anyway on with THE MYSTERY: we have been puzzled, wondering how these little nests, fashioned by the mud dauber wasp, have been able to squeeze in through the double glazed windows in order to build them. (These are in the attic)

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I found out how the other day. It must be the nest building season; she had crawled up the drain hole in the sill, for when I opened the window of our bedroom,  I found this strange bundle of straw blocking the hole.

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I gently pulled it out and there was the rudimentary nest in construction, she had even used the hole as a convenient mould to pack the straw into. She was extremely annoyed at my intervention and kept dive-bombing me. Funny how the form has taken that of someone lying face down, with the arm drooped over the sill: a straw person/puppet, ( this was not intentional)

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There is a whole city of them upstairs in the attic.

Teddies watch unamazed: they knew all the time how she did it.

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Here is a close-up of the wasp with her wings out, which is a pity as you can’t quite see how tiny the threadlike  connection is between the thorax and abdomen.

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Here is another pic:

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After constructing the nest they go and catch a spider or a small beetle, sting it,  fly it back, then pack it into the nest , lay an egg, seal the entrance, and then the larva will feed off the ‘live’ body as it develops over winter. Yuck, I wish this world wasn’t so cruel: one dies in order that another should live, there must be another way…………..

Meanwhile, here is the duchess awaiting her chauffeur:

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14 thoughts on “A mystery solved.

  1. The little wasp nests stacked on top of each other are beautiful, and belie the grisly fate of the hapless flies and beetles that must populate them as a living larder. (One way of keeping the meat fresh!) The natural world has no sense of what we deem to be cruel. Nature just finds something to occupy every available niche. It’s a salutary lesson to all of us who misperceive the great diversity of creation as being somehow flawless and unblemished. It’s bloody in just about every way imaginable!

    But then there is Duchess Meg, arrayed on leopard print upholstery awaiting her chauffeuse! Is she not wearing the diamonds today? Perhaps it’s just an informal trip to the shops! (-;

  2. PS. I think the reclining figure is a lady made of straw waiting languidly for Monsieur EhBeh, in much the same way as Lleu in the Mabinogion has the maiden Blodeuwedd, made for him by enchantment from the flowers of the meadow.

  3. Yes I agree, that damned auto-correct, I managed to send a possible future client an email with just the word “slut” .! don’t ask me how that happened! Or indeed what the intended word was, She just politely replied , “I hope you didn’t mean to send this!” Naturally , I flubbered my way through an explanation…….however I haven’t heard about the job (a portrait of her dogs) since.

    • Oooh! Lordy, how you have made me laugh with this! That DREADFUL auto-correction! I love this post and the photos of the little mud nests. How lovely they are, and all blending most beautifully with teddies and all. That Duchess is quite something! Does she have one or two blue eyes? I can’t quite tell. Is she one of those Australian shepherds, a Border Collie or something else? I’m always very interested in dog breeds!

      • Hi , Judy, I’m glad I made you laugh, particularly as I love your blogs and they always make me laugh with delight. The Duchess ( Megan) is border collie, possibly with a bit of deerhound thrown in, one eye blue and one eye brown, which gives her a wild look. A rescue dog who was in the dog pound for 3 months, she is very nervous of gunshots ( we have hunting in our area), storms, high winds, woodpeckers hammering, diggers digging, helicopters …….the list is endless…..

      • Oh dear! Our old boy was that way (and add champagne corks popping to the list) but now he is so deaf that he remains serene through everything 🙂 Megan is a beauty though!

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