| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Bug off!

Christine Kempell has an ugly bug club living in her house

© ITP Images

I’m overrun with annoying creatures, and I’m not talking about the two-legged kind I chose to give birth to. I’m plagued by creepy crawly creatures who, given the choice, I would rather not share my abode with. I don’t want to give the wrong impression of my lovely home, as it is a place gleaming with cleanliness. Wafts of bleach permeate every nook and cranny but the multitude of insects that live with me seem to thrive on it and every other anti-bacterial spray I purchase.

Let me introduce them to you: There is the family of cockroaches who live under my youngest daughter’s loo (I’m also overrun with toilets). I think it’s a family, or else it’s one giant perennially pregnant mother who keeps spewing forth tiny replica cockroaches, perfectly proportioned to her but in miniature. In an effort to stop them scuttling all over the villa, we have positioned a ‘Roach Hotel’ with the charming catchphrase of ‘The roaches check in, but they don’t check out’ behind the offending latrine. Inspecting the previous night’s sticky seizure has become as much a part of my daughter’s morning routine as cleaning her teeth.

Also in abundance are those tiny little see-through ants that favour my kitchen work surfaces and have a penchant for certain types of wooden furniture. According to the nice man who comes and sprays his noxious fumes around every now and again, they are known in the trade as ‘Sugar Ants’. I have plenty of evidence, squished in trails along my wall, to deduce that they are also quite partial to electrical appliances too, although ‘Sugar-Wood-Plug-Or-Any-Food-Stuff-Accidentally-Left-Out-Or-Dropped-On-The-Floor-Ants’ is a bit of a mouthful. They run pretty quickly, but not fast enough for my kids’ speedy squishing fingers. No longer squeamish, it’s now a game we all enjoy.

I have a particular loathing of the small ingenious black beasts, which look like miniature beetles that invade all types of pasta. Just how they manage to get inside a closed packet of penne is a puzzle still to be solved. I have spent a fortune on glass jars with vicious suction action and yet when I open the lid – there are scores of the little suckers nestling in my rigatoni. As I say, squeamishness has no place in our hearts these days, so when I accidently boiled a bevy of the blighters in a pan a couple of weeks ago, my kids were given the important task of fishing them out with a spoon when they rose to the surface (yes, they do that when simmered to death). The dish still tasted delicious, although I did have to convince the girls that the flecks in their food really were just basil.

Nobody gets a wink of sleep when there is a mosquito buzzing round the bedroom, as it’s difficult to rest peacefully when a blood-sucking pest performs a victory roll next to your ear. They don’t stand a chance in my house though, and fall into a soporific sleep from the anti-mozzie fumes diffusing in the atmosphere, before being whacked with a hand towel and left on the wall as a chilling display of warning to other potential parasites. That’s unless the gecko that lives in the air-conditioning unit doesn’t eat them first.

I have heard the scurrilous rumours that children bought up as ex-pats are a pampered bunch of namby- pambies. Well my cockroach-catching, ant-squashing, weevil-munching, mosquito-whacking kids are testament to the fact that this is a load of nonsense. How about yours?

By Time Out Dubai Kids staff
Time Out Dubai,

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