Thursday, June 16, 2011

Uninvited Guest!

This day fortnight I'll be winging my way to Turkey for the summer. I'm sitting down to make a list of what I need to do. As soon as I get there I will do the usual list of jobs, a big shop, pay the house insurance and the council tax. This year I have a more urgent job topping the list and it springs from a very near nasty incident at the end of last summer.

It was a lovely summers evening, Metin had come to visit and we had had a very loud raucous game of table tennis, you can see from the action here that I'm not in the slightest bit competitive. And a Turkish man let a woman beat him.... you can picture the scene.

The temperatures were in the high thirties, and that was just the weather. For once I was on form and had won my game.  We were tied so in the interest of entente cordiale we retired to the terrace to eat some ice-cream and have a long cold drink.

Nature called. I decided to use the loo in my bedroom as I also wanted to turn on the air conditioning. Air conditioning on, not to be indelicate I was doing what a girl needs to do.
Sitting on the "throne" I happen to glance down and there not 6 inches from my foot is this small brownish creature. Oh oh, it has a tail that has a distinctive curve to it. Now I will have to admit while I'm no Miss Muffet - I can take spiders, bugs or moths in my stride -I draw the line at snakes and scorpions.

It was a good job I was sitting on the loo, I certainly needed one. The sight of this tiny creature frightened the **** out of me. However, this led to its own problem. Sean was not at home that left only Metin to summon for help, not something I could do from the loo. It was the longest couple of minutes (probably only seconds) that this guy and I had a staring match.

Why had I taken up the Turkish fashion of removing my shoes in the house? Trying to take my feet off the floor and finish what I was doing was an even more awkward position than using a Turkish toilet.
Finally, I shot off the loo and raced for the door being careful to avoid my new found friend.

I hollered for Metin. He came to the foot of the stairs. It was not normal to ask a young man up to the bedroom. He hesitated. I quickly explained using frantic gesticulations. I had never needed to learn the Turkish word akrep before and I certainly wasn't going to take the time to look it up in the dictionary.

He finally got the message. There was too much panic in my voice for me to have lost my reason and be inviting him to my bedroom. He bounded up the stairs and took a look. The scorpion was still in the same place, he took a can of shaving foam and hit it a fatal blow. Then the lecture began. Why had I waited for him. I should have killed it myself. The scorpion could have disappeared under the shower to emerge again when he saw fit. Yada yada yada. He was worse than hubbie, and there was I just shaking in terror.

What was worrying me more was where was the scorpions family? Would they swear an eternal vendetta for the contract I had taken out on one of their family members? A scorpion mafia is to be feared. Metin also told me that there were two types of scorpion in Turkey and this one was the more poisonous variety. Gee, he knew how to reassure a scared woman. Probably revenge for winning my game of table tennis.

 I made Metin go through the whole bedroom. He looked behind pictures, wardrobes, under the bed. I even had him strip the bed clothes to check for more scorpions. I didn't want to cosy up to one in the night. The whole time he was laughing at me for being such wimp! All I could do is thank my lucky stars that Ireland has no real nasties. Saint Patrick threw out all the snakes. I can cope with a few midgie bites in summer.  We don't even have mosquitoes.

It  took me several nights before memory began to fade and I slept easy again. I got a regular teasing as too why I was so scared of something that was only about 4 cms long, especially if there was an audience.

A couple of weeks after I returned home I had a call from Metin. He had had a bad night. He had awoken from sleep to find a scorpion on his leg! He managed to kill it before it did any damage. He left it in the corner of his room as a warning to all other scorpions that might come his way. But he too had a few sleepless nights.  What goes around comes  around! I'll have to admit to taking pleasure in his sleeplessness, once I knew he was unharmed.

Top of my to do list this weekend. Ring Metin and ask him to put down pesticide before I arrive. No more unwanted visitors please!


  1. Glad you survived the ordeal. I would have freaked too.

  2. Shaving foam, shaving foam....I shall keep that in mind but still hope this never happens to me! Eeeeekkk!!! Scary!!! Glad everyone's okay! Whew...

  3. OMG! I would have been exactly the same as you - totally freaked out! But you recall it with such humour it's hard not to laugh. *sorry* x

  4. Are you a city girl by any chance Mary? I grew up in the countryside. Although I never had such encounters in the loo, I remember a big green lizard starring at me and my plate at lunch...not nice. In London, I am not scared of anything now!

  5. I am fine with all sorts of creatures- large spiders, lizards, I even love snakes. But scorpions- no thank you! Not so much an ew factor as a total freakout factor!

  6. Lucylastica don't be sorry for laughing, I seem to get myself into all kinds of situations. Laughter is the only way to go.
    MuMu I'm not a city girl, grew up by the beach but a few nettles or midges seem to be the worst Ireland has to offer. I have no problem with spiders, mice etc.
    Tiffany, I too can handle spiders but snakes and scorpions are a step too far.

  7. Not to be indelicate, but I am also glad you were sitting on the loo at the right moment!! So funny, Mary, though I would have been terrified as well! ;p

  8. Argh scorpions and spiders - they give me chills, even when just looking at a pic on the web. Too many encounters with the many legged kind when growing up in a mining town and then on a farm. I can tolerate all other kinds of bugs (well except centipedes and millipedes...maybe its the number of legs that get me?).

  9. I would have reacted the exact same way as you, maybe worse! I found a huge bug on the wall in one of the bedrooms once and called my husband at work to come home and kill it. He wouldn't , so I called my best friend to do it, she wouldn't either. So I did the only thing I could do, sprayed it with hairspray, ran out the door and closed it behind me. Husband had to clean up the corpse later when he did get home =)

  10. Great story. Humorously told. And you were sitting on the loo, no less! Glad that Metin got his just desserts.

    Once, I lived on a ranch in Mexico. The first night we got there, I spent cleaning and fumigating. When we retired, my husband said something derogatory about my needless obsession with fumigating. And I asked him, "What's that crawling along the floor?"
    Instead of stomping on the scorpion, brave old B took out the insect repellent and sprayed it to death.

  11. Nicely written funny story! I guess standing up for the poor dead scorpion wouldn't be a popular position...not really his fault for wandering into the wrong place at the wrong time ;) Having said that, I would have given the poor sod a taste of my shaving cream can, too! Not worth making his poor navigation become my trip to the ER.

    Thanks for the story!

  12. OH, dear! Scorpions and little lizards with tails would scare it out of me, too! But I admire your wonderful gift of language for telling this story in such a delightful way!

  13. Woah Mary .... I would have freaked out too. Encountering a scorpion whilst conducting ones ablutions is just not right. Well done to Metin for twatting the little fella!!

  14. Glad to know I'm not the only wimp around. Eric you certainly have a point, maybe this poor little scorpion meant no harm. It does seem like an extreme consequence for bad navigation. Hubbie would be dead many times over if he was so punished for poor sense of direction. But while I might scoop up a spider on a piece of paper I wasn't taking any chances with this guy.

  15. Hello Mary -

    Loo or no loo, I don't know why you didn't jump right up and out of there, lol. I don't think I'm going to sit there and play "stare-down" with a monster! :)

  16. Yikes scorpions, I would freak out too. If it wasn't so scary I would be laughing at how the poor Metin had to come up to your bedroom!

    I am also used to taking off my shoes at home but I haven't encountered any scary creatures :)

  17. This was so funny and scary at the same time! And to think I get scared of the harmless geckos!

  18. Yes Corinne I wasn't prepared for it. I've been visiting Turkey for over six years now and while I know there are snakes and scorpions I have never encountered one outside let alone in the house. But it is typical of me, that it could not happen at a "normal" place or time. İt just makes one more funny story from Turkey.

  19. I'm so glad I didn't read this before going to Istanbul in 2004. Sometimes, it's just best not to know. ::shudder::

    I have a horrible fear of spiders.

  20. How awful a scorpion ! I dropped my sunglasses in the hole of the turkish toilet, of course I didn't "fish" for them, lol !
    I just wanted to tell you that I came back from Istanbul on Saturday and we had a wonderful stay there ! 10 days ! We were lucky to have a hotel (only3*)very close to the Blue Mosque and the other things, very clean, very comfortable and above all a wonderful terrace on the 5th floor with a swimming pool, overlooking Istanbul. There also was a restaurant, so we didn't have to go out in the evening. We both had the blues when we came back.

    you can read my first post here :

    Otherwise there are my daily reports on "Writer Cramps"
    Conclusion,Istanbul is a city where I could live !

  21. I have an insect phobia, but I still laughed at this. I would have had my legs wrapped around my own head if I'd seen that scorpion!

    Love this post! :D
    ~cath xo

  22. Wow Cath, you are in better shape than I am. No amount of fear would enable me to get my legs anywhere near my head. Hard enough to get them to keep me upright!

  23. OMG, how I remember this one. Since you posted it and I commented before, I should add that the other day, my sister found a dead - not squashed - blonde scorpion - in other words, the most dangerous type - in my closet.

    And where one goes, another follows.

  24. Oh Penelope, how scary! I found myself instinctively checking the bathroom floor everytime I went in this summer:-)

  25. well i never Mary..shaving foam..right im off to buy some today


Thank you for stopping by. Please leave a comment and tell me what you think.