Creepy Crawlies

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Yet another mindless TV reality show reached its predictable conclusion last week, with this particular variant having strong Anglo/Australian connections.

I refer of course to “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here!” – filmed in the jungles of Australia, and watched in the lounge rooms of the UK.

The idea behind the show is that a bunch of B-list (at best) celebrities get dropped off in the depths of an Australian jungle and have to survive there for a few weeks.

Whilst there, they are also required to carry out various rather undignified tasks to earn extra food for their teams and to prevent them being voted off the show by viewers.

The last contestant standing is declared King or Queen of the Jungle – fairly basic reality show fodder really.

However, from what I can make out (and I have to confess my viewing of the show has been extremely limited) the tasks in question mainly seem to involve eating inedible ‘bush food’ or being exposed to large numbers of Australia’s bug life.

Indeed, anyone watching the show could be forgiven for thinking that Australia is full of such unpleasant insects which is not really the case. Or is it?

Whilst I spent most of my time down under in the urban jungle that is Sydney, I nevertheless also found myself getting up close and personal with Australian insect life. Frequently. And in the comfort of my own home.

Now, this may say something about my somewhat ‘laissez-faire’ attitude towards house cleaning, but I have to confess that my old Sydney home was a veritable insect magnet.

A knife containing the faintest trace of honey, left in the sink overnight would become the epicentre of a whole ant world by the following morning.

A window left open in the stifling summer heat would act as a welcome portal to swarms of noisy mosquitos who would contrive to keep me awake all night.

We even had a family of slugs who would come out at night, but be gone by daybreak, with only a thick trail of slime left behind to give me a clue as to the directions of their nocturnal ramblings.

But by far the worst were the cockroaches. Horrible, loathsome, pointless creatures. But oh so abundant and oh so indestructible

Many was the evening I’d be watching TV, when something large and black would catch the corner of my eye and scuttle across the floor, disappearing from view, just before my size 10’s could crush it.

And if I ever went into the kitchen in the middle of the night and suddenly turned on the light, I could almost guarantee that a number of these creatures would be brazenly strolling around on the kitchen counters, looking for food.

Of course I followed all the advice for getting rid of them, letting off cockroach ‘bombs’ in the home, (“guaranteed to kill them for 3 months” – yeah right) or even calling in the professionals to fumigate the house.

But even as Rentokill were driving off up the road and I re-entered my pungent home with a handkerchief clasped over my nose to avoid inhaling the acrid fumes, I could almost hear the vicious laughter of the barely inconvenienced ‘roaches, as if to say “Is that the best you’ve got?”

After many years battling cockroaches, the psychological wounds are still there.

Now, when I turn on the kitchen light at night, I half expect to see a family of British cockroaches chowing down, but so far, nothing – aside from a few benign spiders, my new home appears to be insect-free.

I dare say, it won’t be long before the producers of “I’m a celebrity” start their forward planning for next year’s show, considering if there are ways of innovating the format to keep the ratings up

I’ve half a mind to contact them and suggest that next year they leave the jungle behind and have the celebs shacked up in my old Sydney home.

Now that would be one scary show.

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