Expecting visitors for lunch at the bach, I thought I'd better make an effort and clear the drive of overhanging vegetation, in case they turned up in their flash new limousine.
Thorny protuberances lining my driveway could easily slice through numerous layers of paint, and while that may be acceptable for my old truck, it certainly would not improve the pristine looks of my friend's Bentley.
My bushwhacking efforts were rewarded with an attack by wasps. Until I was stung, I'd been unaware that this pest was back in residence, with a nest buried in the undergrowth.
As owners of a holiday property, we wearily accept that during our absence, a variety of creatures - including bush rats, possums, wild cats, mice, giant cockroaches, mosquitoes and wasps - will take up lodgings. The painful stings reminded me how unlucky, or careless, we were in allowing wasps into New Zealand. The appalling damage to the ecology following the arrival of these airborne bandits doesn't bear thinking about.
Exterminating wasp nests requires a cautious approach. I plan such operations like a bank robbery.
First I engage the caregiver to drive the getaway vehicle. Then, with me wearing gloves, a cap pulled down low over my head, and a scarf covering my face, we slowly approach the nest at dusk, when hopefully, most of the prey have settled.
I leap from the car, armed with a plastic funnel attached to a small length of tubing, thrust it into the undergrowth and pour half a bottle of kerosene down the presumed entrance to the nest.
I'm pretty sure I've got this right because, like a bank robber, I've been casing the joint for a couple of days observing the wasps' flight movements.
Hurriedly returning to the car and slamming the door in the face of a few very grumpy wasps in hot pursuit, I bark at the driver, "Go!" She puts her foot down and we speed off, another extermination operation concluded.
With the adrenaline still flowing, I suggest to the caregiver that while I'm suitably masked and gloved, and with her skills as a getaway driver, maybe we should now go and rob a downtown bank.
But she thinks trying to intimidate bank tellers armed only with a pink plastic funnel borrowed from my son's play box might present some logistical problems.