Category Archives: Local Event

Save the Succubus Wasp

Octavius Chevin is a man with a mission. Originally trained as a naturalist he has spent his entire adult life on the island making galoshes for the fishing community. However, his retirement has allowed him to return to his first love of entomology. Recently he has campaigned tirelessly for the protection and study of one of the island’s rarest and most curious arthropods – the Succubus Wasp. A species he himself discovered, frozen in a block of ice, a year ago.
He’s written books and papers about Vespula Hasturis, to give it it’s proper name. He’s formed the local environmental organisation that seeks to protect the Succubus Wasp and, until recently, campaigned to expand the membership of the charity.
Unfortunately he remains the sole member of Save the Succubus Wasp. Due to becoming bed-ridden he has had to completely abandon his efforts to increase the organisation’s influence among the local community, but his passion for environmental work is undimmed.
Today, he lives by himself in the old mill out near Geezo’s Bight.
When this reporter visited the door was already open and he was met cordially by Mr Chevin who received him in his bedroom.
In person Mr Chevin cuts quite an imposing figure –  Despite looking alarmingly emaciated and somewhat wild-eyed, the man turns out to be rather welcoming. Speaking candidly and openly about having lost the use of his legs and being only partially able to use his arms, he remains sanguine. His voice is high pitched with a faint sibilant tone and he also has a nervous tic of punctuating his sentences with a short buzzing noise from the back of his throat. He becomes animated as conversation turns from his ailments to his beloved wasps.
‘I am privileged to be on a mission to preserve the natural habitat and therefore the small population of Vespulis Hasturis for the benefit of present and future generations’ he says. ‘It is a beautiful creature, but its numbers are dwindling: at the moment there is only one live pregnant queen wasp and two dormant, pregnant, ice-bound queens, on the island. There were more, of course, but since the discovery of the frozen colony and their subsequent revivification by my hands last year, they have inevitably come into contact with humans’.
He continues – ‘This resulted in their habitat being encroached on at a rapid rate and also some regrettable deaths, in both the wasp and human populations.
As a result, a lot of misinformed and plain ignorant opinions about these shy and retiring creatures have come about.’ Mr Chevin has started to push himself forward and attempts to lean in closer to me.
He carries on – ‘The wasp has a fascinating feeding cycle. The queen will inhabit the nearest living creature it can find and appears to exert some sort of mental control over it’s host by releasing a special type of pheromone into the nervous system, as a result the host loses all interest in eating and sleeping. As it feeds further on the host’s spinal fluid the host rapidly becomes paralysed. As there is a finite supply of spinal fluid, this necessitates that the queen must find a new host after a while. It is quite slow to disentangle itself from the cerebellum of it’s current host so it has to keep it’s potential prey occupied for quite a while before it can attack and infest it. They can’t survive for long outside of another living thing, you see’. Mr Chevin is now shaking with excitement.
I edge back a little as Mr Chevin seems to be unconsciously trying to grasp my wrist.
‘They only lay eggs once in a lifetime so it’s important that a steady supply of hosts is available to increase the chances of Queens giving birth to fertile males of the species and therefore being able to immediately mate again. Sadly the males die after the procreative act, only the queen matters!’
His voice becomes tremulous – ‘Our number one priority is to see them growing healthy and breeding and spreading and to stop this trend of dwindling numbers’ he says fixing me with that commanding stare of his. I agree that we have a duty to help promote the future of these fascinating insects but decide to excuse myself as Mr Chevin seems to be having some manner of fit. His head is shaking violently and rapidly from side to side and he sounds as if he is about to cough something up.
I make a hasty exit as I fear that my presence may have exacerbated his condition. In some extremity of discomfort I believe he involuntarily threw something after me, as I heard a thud as if something had forcibly struck the fine mahogany door as I closed it on my way out.
Environmental concerns are all our responsibility and this reporter asks his esteemed readership to consider taking up Mr Chevin’s ‘adopt a wasp’ campaign which proved so unpopular and short-lived last year. Subscriptions can be delivered by postal order to the Vendetta.
This dark gem is from none other than Mr Charles Cutting with art by Tom Brown.

12th Night

 

12th Night revels

 

 
The evening was crisp with an unusually clear sky, which may be why we had one of the best 12th Night turnouts for many years. Torches and masks made a dramatic show as we paraded around the town centre, and the traditional dance was a great success. I know there are some who want to modernise the event with lively tunes, but the traditional, mournful dances and slow airs have a certain majesty that suits the dark time of the year.

Delays on the Bridge

 

Excavation site at dusk

 

Work to lay the foundations for Balthazar Lemon’s bridge to the mainland hit a setback. The small headland to the south of the harbour had been determined as the best spot, facing where our brightest thinkers understand the mainland to be. However, this small headland turned out not to be rock, as first imagined. Excavations to put down support posts revealed wood. Work on the bridge has stopped because all of those involved were far more interested in finding out what this buried wood is from, than in building the bridge. Your humble editor is not a man of science, but feels the future should take precedent over the past.
 
Man hours have been lost in digging up the sandbank. This work has revealed the remains of a ship. A large one, as far as can be ascertained, although the vast majority remains buried. Already tales are flying around, filling the wreck with imagined treasures. I would like to assure readers that based on my observations, the ship is filled with mud, slime and old seaweed.
 
Plans to lay the bridge foundations are delayed, but I have been assured the work will continue.
 

Seasonal Events

 

 
I trust that you all enjoyed a merry Christmas. The midnight mass was especially atmospheric this year, the wind around the church producing a sound uncannily like a child crying. Twenty graves have been dug to see us through the winter – a conservative estimate I fear. For the wellbeing of your community, do not undertake to die before the thaw, if you can possibly help it!

Wishing you a fine Apple Sunday

celebrating our island's heritage

It’s a tradition whose origins are lost, and a very fine piece of our local heritage. This Sunday’s Apple Procession begins at the Church at 10am after the Apple Blessing service. Following the green dancers in their foliage attire, and the drummers, the Procession will then make its way around the island’s farms. Hopefully this year’s drummers will have some sense of rhythm between them. (I shudder, recalling the horrors of trying to march to last year’s attempts).

We will be following the traditional route, but, after numerous requests, the wild apple tree at the end of Silver Street will be our first port of call. While each farmer will be providing buckets of blood for the traditional blessing, those attending are welcome to carry their own as well. As ever, bring gifts to hang in the trees – ribbons are good. Make sure whatever you bring is dead before you try and tie it to anything, or anyone. If the weather holds, it should be an excellent day out. The Crow will be supplying a range of apple themed dishes in the evening to round of the festivities.

Pumpkin Fair

elgar s
Elgar Frog at the ready

 

This Saturday, bring your carved pumpkins (or other sculpted garden produce) to the Town Hall for the annual lantern parade and fair. Elgar Frog is providing music, there will be hot food, and a prize for the best lantern. 

This year’s lantern judges are Mistress Sophie Davies, Mister Jack Ephemery, and Mister Jed Grimes. They are looking for originality, craftsmanship and enthusiasm.

Proceeds go to the Pallid Rock Orphanage, and the Hunger Hill Establishment for the Weak and Confused.

Church Picnic

The annual Church picnic takes place this Saturday, everyone welcome. Bring food to share. After last year’s unfortunate incident, Reverend Davies asks those attending to make sure that the food is either properly dead at the outset, or suitably restrained. No alcohol. Everyone welcome for a day of family fun in an atmosphere of spiritual communion.