No this is not a headline from the Sun Newspaper, is a true very short story written last September during that heady season of wasps, mellow fruitfulness and the fall of Northern Crock. I had been reflecting upon past holidays, the end of summer and the sad fact that I had not been on holiday for the last couple of years. It was the incredibly wet summer of 2008 which reminded me of the last time I went camping in England. I had foolishly ventured into the Yorkshire Dales in August and pitched my tent in a quiet spot on a gentle rise above a fast flowing river (actually, well above the river knowing this country’s reputation for floods). The ground was quite wet from the heavy rain but it was no problem since I had one of these modern tents that you untie and then hurl at the ground so that they erect themselves automatically. It beats the old days when you spent about three hours belting tents pegs into the muddy ground in a rainstorm.
About two nights into the holiday I went to sleep at dusk to the sound of crickets or grasshoppers, whichever one it is that makes that funny clicking noise by rubbing its back legs together. Alas, I should have been warned that there is more to grasshoppers than back legs. They also have extremely sharp knashers, which, ever since the age of fluoridisation, have grown in size, sharpness and ferocity, presumably by unnatural evolution. Just one more damaging effect which man’s activities have had upon the natural environment as more and more chemicals seep into the earth’s bloodstream. The more scientific among you may disagree with this whole idea, but this blog never set out to and was never intended to be a science lesson. It is more a dire warning about the nocturnal activities of modern overdeveloped grasshoppers.
When I drowsily recovered consciousness in the early hours of the next morning, having dreamed of those big tall scary machines that attacked Tom Cruise in the “War of the Worlds”, I reached for the pair of cotton walking trousers which I had rather stupidly left outside on the grass the night before. I was amazed to find that very little of the trousers remained and as I grabbed what was left of them a dead grasshopper dropped out. I immediately realized that something like HG Well’s War of the Worlds had really been raging all night and I had slept through it all. Indeed, my nightmare had indeed come true as I realized the awesome fact that a grasshopper had eaten my trousers!
Not that I really need to provide evidence for this strange event (for surely you believe me!) but for the benefit of any people who don’t, a photograph of the ravaged trousers can be seen above. They were donated and put on display at the Denim Exhibition, which was held at the The Hub in Sleaford, Lincolnshire in 2008. The moral of the story is, that if you choose to go on a camping holiday this season, make sure you keep your trousers inside the tent away from those predatory grasshoppers. Happy camping folks!!