Ivy is the devil. Ivy isn’t a person or anything, I don’t even know anybody called Ivy, and even if I did I wouldn’t be calling them the devil. I’m sure she’s lovely. That would be mean.
I mean the plant. The climbing vine thing with the pretty leaves that are like messed up triangle things in two shades of green. That one. Climbing Ivy. The thing misguided people like to have all over the front of their oh so bloody quaint houses.
That stuff. It’s the devil.
I say this because, when I was a child. I lived in a house. A real one, with walls and a ceiling and everything. It was a very nice situation, and one I have been trying to get back to ever since – with varying degrees of success, seeing as I often still live in the same house. And in this house, I had my own room, all to myself! Truly I was the luckiest of children. But this room had a flaw. You see, it was at the front of the house, and the front of the house was covered in the devil. In the Ivy.
Now Ivy was the devil in many ways. For my Father, it was the devil in that he had to spend all of his free time cutting the damn thing back so we could see out of the bloody windows. For my Mother, it just wasn’t very pretty. Nobody said you couldn’t be the devil for shallow reasons. Stoppit.
Personally, I found it the devil because it gave me a mind numbing terror of spiders that took me the best part of a decade to shake off. Oh, and it woke me up unpleasantly early on Summer weekends. For the sake of both my sanity and the sanity of anybody reading this, I am extraordinarily happy to report those two things are not, in any real way, connected.
Ivy is a veritable haven for birds, and the bloody things used to nest, all year round, above my window. More specifically, in the gutter above my window. Which had been completely taken over by the Ivy. To the point that, when the Ivy was eventually killed with complete and justified prejudice, it was a write off. So you can add wanton property to damage to the ‘reasons why Ivy can justifiably be called the devil’ column I’m sure you’ve all been keeping.
Anyway, the point is, birds are loud. Very, very, unpleasantly loud. Especially when you have single glazing, which I did. Or when the window is open due to that thing we used to have called ‘Summer’.
The whole ‘windows being open’ thing leads me to the real, indisputable reason that Ivy is and always shall be the devil.
It was a Summers day, it was warm and lovely and all the windows in the house were open. I was maybe 8 years old. I was sitting in what we laughably called ‘the study’. In reality it was the spare bedroom, but it had the computer in it and a foul blue futon instead of a bed, so we called it the Study. A terrible bloody idea, because it means that now, as an adult, I refer to all spare bedrooms anywhere at all as a study, which is dreadfully embarrassing and makes me seem much more pretentious and middle class than I really am. I was reading a comic book. I think it was a Sonic the Hedgehog comic book because I was, really, a spectacularly tasteless 8 year old. They stopped making that particular comic shortly after because it was terrible and nobody bought it, and I was very sad indeed.
But I’d been going through these comic books, and I decided to go back through into my bedroom to put them all back in their little box thing. So I walk through the house, and into my bedroom, stack of comic books obscuring my view of the floor. This meant I got quite close before I saw it. The biggest, ugliest spider I had ever seen in my life. I froze. My hands flopped to my sides. Comics went everywhere. The amount of comic books I had is entirely responsible for my continued sanity. A few more would have obscured my view entirely, and I would have stepped on the thing. In my 8 year old bare feet.
I’d like to tell you what happened next, but I honestly can’t. The entire episode has been wiped quite completely from my mind.
What I do remember, however, is my Dad explaining how the damn thing had gotten in there. I think he was trying to reassure me that it hadn’t been living in my room, but had instead been living in the Ivy just outside my room, and had decided to come in through the open window to see what the whole ‘house’ thing was like. How he was able to stop me from grabbing a box of matches and torching the thing right there and then will be forever unknown to me.
So yeah. Climbing Ivy. Sanctuary to rest destroying birds, sanctuary to childhood destroying spiders, eater of free time, possible eye-sore, DEVIL.
As an aside, I just googled ‘nocuous’ and was somewhat disappointed to find it’s a real word. That somewhat spoils what I was going for in the title. Shush.