From one loathsome insect to another: I'm back in Hong Kong, where it's so damp and humid that the floor tiles in my housing block are wet and the walls beside the lift are running with water. I opened the front door on my return from work on Tuesday and immediately caught sight, through the open bathroom door, of a large, fat, brown cockroach sitting, as BOLD AS BRASS (bold caps to illustrate the horror, though mere typography is not equal to the task), plum on top of the soap on the bathroom sink.
I raced around trying to find a weapon with which to do battle and in a panic grabbed the bottle of Ecover washing up liquid and aimed a thick gout at the beast. Instead of doing the decent thing and passing out in a pool of liquid, it had the temerity to stagger to the edge of the sink before sliding slowly and horrifyingly down the pedestal, its tentacles still waving insolently. All reason gone, I battered it repeatedly with the base of a bottle of suntan lotion until it was long past dead.
Do I need to explain that I can't stand cockroaches? I had one in my hair once, during a dragonboat sinking drama round the back of Middle Island; it had flown from the island and alighted (to catch its rasping little breath) on an attractive looking, smallish bobbing island which turned out to be my head. In a fugue state brought on by terror, I smacked it to death with my dragon boat paddle. Since then my hatred and fear has known no bounds.