I have a distinct memory of standing beside my father when he chatted to a neighbour about a sting he got from a wasp. I was about 7 or 8 years old.
The precise words he used were "It was like the kick of a mule"
This made a great impression on my young mind. For a tiny wasp to give a grown man the size of my father a shock equivalent to the kick of a mule was something to ponder.
I became quite phobic and completely obsessed with avoiding EVER being stung by one of these power packed little demons.
I freaked out if one came near me. The slightest buzz was enough to send me running for the hills as if my hair was on fire .
Whilst others would sit calmly unflustered telling me "It won't sting you if you leave it alone" I would lose all dignity and reason and run around flailing every limb, tearing at my clothes and shouting "getawaygetawaygetaway!"
Once, a friend who was adopting the cool unflustered approach was actually stung while she sat there urging me to calm down.
Meanwhile, my approach, continued to work. The wasps left the crazy lady alone.
Had I known that my dreaded nemesis had crawled discretely under my skirt I would have adopted my usual, highly effective, tearing at my clothes and running around in circles method. But when I crossed my legs it was too late. The sudden sharp thorny sensation I felt on my inner thigh caused me to leap up and the rude intruder flew out from under my skirt.
Sadly dear reader, not being a fully fledged 'Lady' the first word on my lips was the word that starts with 'sh' and ends with 'it'. And heedless of the watching little children I found great relief in gripping my 15 year old sons arm and saying it over and over until I returned to my senses and equlibrium was restored.
I am happy to report however, that my first wasp sting, though unpleasant, was nothing like I imagine the kick of a mule to be.
Not, now I come to mention it, that I have ever actually been kicked by a mule.