Two disasters have ocurred and they are nothing to do with me. I left Dexter in charge of the sticks while I was in New York.The Parents had given Dexter's parents a key so they could come in and make the house look busy while we were away. Turns out Dexter's parents left that job to Dexter as well.
So the first disaster was that the house seemed to have exploded.
'It's a well known burglary prevention method,' he explains. We are perching on the hall welcome mat which is the one tidy space in the house. Mum is waddling around, trying to put things back in cupboards and drawers.
'That was very kind of you, Dexter,' she says and if teeth can really be gritted, then hers were all ready for severe winter weather. 'But did you have to make everywhere quite so messy?'
'The thing is,' says Dexter, 'our house has been burgled twice and it's always really tidy not like your house.'
'Thankyou, Dexter and there was me tidying up before we left,' says Mum and she gives a hysterical little laugh.
'So, I thought I would make completely sure that any burglars would not even bother with your house because they would not want to sort through all the piles and stuff.'
Mum is rubbing her enormous stomach. 'Very thoughtful of you but you shouldn't have gone to so much trouble - I think I have to lie down now.'
'But were you burgled?' he asked.
Mum sighs and shakes her head.
'Job done then,' says Dexter.
I pull him up the stairs to my room. Inside, I point out the stick insect tank. 'I quite like the new non tidy arrangement,' I say to him lulling him into a false sense of me being happy to see him.
He shrugs his shoulders in a modest sort of way.
'But I do not like the fact that you were so busy untidyting the house that you forgot to feed the sticks.'
'Ah,' he says. 'Are they all right?'
We both peer in through the glass. The sticks are plastered to the side in a desperate sort of way. They have nibbled all the greenery I left for them.
'Look there,' I say pointing at the bottom of the tank.
'Covered in poo and EGGS!'
I sigh and lift the lid of the tank. 'The sticks were so stressed they all had babies and now YOU are going to sort out the babies from the poo.'
He pulls a face but does not run away. 'Poo eh? And babies? Hmmm.'
And I am not sure wether it is the poo or the eggs that interests him most. All I know is that there are four million of them and they all look nearly but not actually, the same.
Get that job done then.
P.S. The camera containing photos was almost instantly lost when we walked in through the door but hopefully not forever.