Forgetting the repellent

As much as I love my long walks with Ollie, they do have their drawbacks. I have written much about the rain and mud, and how I longed for a change in the weather. Once that happened, I had to prepare for the familiar hazards associated with walking in the summertime.

The first post I ever published on this blog, in 2012, was about being bitten by flying insects. Since then, little has changed. As soon as May arrives, so do the insects. After the first flush of harmless but irritating May bugs, the midges and mosquitoes begin to appear. Under the trees, in the shady areas, and close to the riverbank, swarms of these things congregate. As I dislike wearing a hat, my sparsely-populated head is a prime target. Other succulent areas seem to found on my legs, as soon as I begin to wear shorts. After a few miserable episodes of returning home covered in itchy bites, I soon realised that all exposed areas just had to have a good application of repellent spray, or I would face the consequences.

Some things cannot be countered with this precaution though. Horse-flies ignore any creams or sprays, and dive into the attack. Nettles, prickly-leaved plants, and brambles with razor-sharp thorns are all waiting to get me too, it would seem. One day recently, I returned home with one leg covered in blood. I had hardly noticed the thorn that had neatly sliced through part of my calf with the precision of a surgeon. Nettle stings can be eased with the fast application of a Dock leaf. But there are lots of leaves out there, and unless you are completely sure that the chosen foliage is of the Dock variety, you run the risk of more stings or barbs, as you pluck it to use.

When you spend as much time outside as I do, it becomes apparent that nature has many ways to defend itself, and to attack too. Some leaves and stems contain tiny white hairs. Touch these at your peril, as they will hurt a lot, and carry on hurting for some time after. Trip over into some Gorse, and the sharp spines will pierce your skin as smoothly as a hypodermic needle. Unless I can recognise something as harmless, I have come to assume that it will do me harm, in one way or another. I walk carefully, always trying to look ahead, to watch out for potential stingers, trip hazards, or clumps of spiny thorns.

Walking about is a serious business, not to be taken lightly.

Three days ago, I stupidly forgot to apply the mosquito repellent before a three hour walk. The local biters must have received the news by some form of insect telegraph, as they were all waiting. By the time I returned home, now conscious of my folly, I had seven bites on my head, two on my neck, and a particularly large one on my left knee. That’ll teach me.

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24 thoughts on “Forgetting the repellent

  1. I HATE GNATS!!!!! They’re one of the few creatures I have no compassion for, even spiders (aah!) or snails (gross) I’d feel bad for squishing but not so with gnats…..they seem to like me and I always get covered, grr!!! xxx

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      1. Aww, thank you Pete and EXACTLY the same to you, you always make me smile! Your posts, your comments and just you in general πŸ™‚

        I’m very glad πŸ™‚ xxx

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  2. I came across a lot of flying things around the marshy bit near my tree today, I think I got away unscathed, but jungle juice is ready to go on my next outing. Skin so soft sounds nicer. Will purchase and try out. Cheers Pete πŸ™‚

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  3. I’d forgotten about mosquitos, last year was so dry we didn’t have any, fingers crossed for the same again this year. Horse flies or bonk, as they are called here, are the real curse as they saw through the flesh to draw your blood. I have to say though that I put up with it, them, repellent free, but then of course I am from the North.

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    1. At times like this, I regret being a soft southerner. Horse flies are the hard men of the biting world. They eat repellent for breakfast, and chuckle as they cut their way through my flesh.
      Julie is convinced that we will have Malaria and Zika virus here soon, as we have so many mosquitoes!
      Cheers, Pete.

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      1. I remember when we were building the house and adding the terrace, the horse flies were attracted to the white walls and would fly into the building at high speed and knock themselves unconscious. The Yellowhammers became wise to this and perched on the terrace structure flying down to pick up the dazed insects. It still makes me smile thinking about it, even if I know they will have their pint of blood again this year.
        Malaria, bring it on, a good excuse to top up on the tonic…and gin. Cheers!

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  4. Mosquitoes love me, so I can relate to your predicament!! The itching doesn’t go away for days, too!! I think we can count on you to remember the repellent from now on, eh Pete?

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    1. It is true that they prefer some people to others, GP. I think that darker-skinned Mediterranean-looking people suffer less than the fair-haired blue-eyed people, in general. I have left my spray out on a handy shelf now, you can be sure.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  5. Growing up in Missouri, I succumbed to poison ivy each and every summer. I don’t think there is a single part of my body that was not afflicted at one time or another, including my eyes and my private parts. Most of the time, of course, it was arms and legs. Here in Nevada, aka Cactus Heaven, we are particularly wary of the jumping cholla. But one thing I like about the desert is that the plants are sparse enough to allow you to maneuver around needles and spines. You have to watch where you walk, anyway, because there’s always that remote possibility of running into a Mojave rattler. As for flying insects, they are a pest along the Las Vegas Wash, and I sometimes return home with a few bites on my scalp, despite having enough hair on my head to make a Wookiee envious. In town, though, there are very few flying insects, let alone ones that sting.

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    1. Fortunately, we do not have poison ivy around here. We do have snakes, but they are not as dangerous as those in Nevada. With all your hair, David, I am surprised that they manage to find their way through!
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  6. Pete.
    For a good repellent, try ‘Skin so Soft’. It’s by Avon. It’s not manufactured as a repellent, but all of my camping friends swear by it. I use it too.

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