I love having guests, I really do. Good conversation, good company, great wine and food. It’s heavenly. But there are certain guests I’d rather not share my time with, and this year there have been far too many.

It’s the uninvited sort that shows up late at night, without a care in the world. Always in the dark, always when your defences are down. The kind that give me bad dreams. Those guests I can do without, but I can’t seem to be rid of them. They are the scorpions, the hairy-legged giant spiders and the low-flying aircraft variety. Didn’t anyone tell them it’s just plain rude and rather presumptuous to help yourself to someone else’s home? They are so self-serving, and they freak me the hell out.

I don’t mean to dash your romantic perception of Provence. It is an amazing part of the world. But with warmer climes come a few down sides: sleepless air conditioned-less nights, sunstroke, heat stroke, increasing rosé wine addictions and bugs. Lots of them.

I’ve been told my phobia of spiders and other multi-legged miscreants is because I come from southern Ontario. It’s very hot there in the summer, and I’ve met my share of undesirables. I seem to get a little weak-kneed when confronting creatures one-thousandth the size of me. It’s a bit ridiculous, truly. However, I’ve always believed a certain amount of courage can be found in a good half-bottle (at least) of wine. The flip side of this is the less-than-ideal level of reflexes required to tame those alarmingly fast moving and unpredictable little monsters.

I hope this doesn’t deter visitors from coming. In fact, for those of you who are less squeamish, this could be a fabulous opportunity to be brave in the face of creepy-crawlies, and save me, on occasion, from having to manage them all on my own. I certainly would appreciate it, and there’s a bottle of wine in it for you. And if I’ve put you off, just see the weather forecast. Maybe that will entice you to reconsider a visit. Eeeeeeks….