Hooting Yard’s anagrammatist-in-residence, R., has alerted me to a non-anagrammatical matter of some importance. Winchester woman finds 3ft wasp nest on bed, says a report on the BBC news page. As R. remarks, it is “disappointing that it’s the extent of the nest, rather than the magnitude of a particular wasp, to which this headline refers”. I have read and reread the story, in the faint hope that R. misunderstood it and that there really is – or was – a 3ft wasp at large in Hampshire. It would make a terrific short story, wouldn’t it? As Mrs Gubbins awoke one morning from uneasy dreams she found herself transformed in her bed into a gigantic wasp. Or has somebody already written something similar?
Elsewhere at the BBC, I heard – in the woozy world between sleep and wakefulness – something about squirrels with leprosy. This was a report on Farming Today on Radio 4, a show I have come to think of as Girly Farming Club. The BBC seems forever to be wringing its hands at the under-representation of women, but Farming Today is produced and presented by an exclusively female team. Regrettably, however, not one of them sounds remotely like a proper peasant.