The other day I was at home as heavy clouds gathered, and a quiet peace prevailed. No noise of any sort - which is unusual at La Rochelle, because normally the birds at the very least can be heard. But it got me thinking of all the noisy house-guests we have - so I started adding up the total of noisy things that share our house with us. I even excluded the monkeys - and only those living things that sleep under my roof every night are included.
Incredibly - the total came to roughly 1,000!
Unbelievable? Well - here they are in all their glory. I only included the guests (all of them long-term) who make a noise - so therefore Fred the chameleon and all the spiders are excluded......
First the dogs - who shout their heads off at the slightest provocation. Three of them
Then the paper wasps, who live under the eaves of the house on the East. They generally stay out of the house, but when they come inside they have a loud buzz, and when they get trapped by a closed window they are so noisy that the only solution is to open it - regardless of what you are trying to do at the time.
The paper wasps live right above to the 'East swarm' - roughly 400 African bees. I tried to get into the roof to take their picture, but crawling through the roof timbers being stung didn't sound like such a good idea, and I chickened out - hence this is taken from outside the house. But the gentle hum of the hive can be heard throughout the day if you are standing in the right spot.
On the other side of the house is the 'West swarm' - this a much larger, and more aggressive, swarm comprising around 600 bees that lives in the roof above our kitchen door. The ceiling boards have been torn away previously to allow us to smoke them out, but they soon return. These are the fellows that make cutting the grass such a wonderful and adrenaline-charged game of Russian roulette, as they react viciously to the smell of cut grass. The sound of bees can be heard all day just outside of our kitchen door. This photo was taken with much attention to my evacuation plan and departure route, and is slightly blurred as a result!
Then the noisiest creatures of the lot. A constant and raucous cacophony of chattering sounds raised throughout the day - causing migraines and shattered nerves. These noisy little beasts have a penchant for loud and incessant banging ("music" to some ears - I am told), and communicate at full volume. Thank goodness there are only three of them!
No wonder my hearing is starting to go!