It’s official. I am irresistible. At least to any form of biting insect, stinging plant, irritating leaf or creeper. In fact, as far as most of nature is concerned, I am the main course of choice, as well as the starter, and a tasty dessert too.
One of the joys of better weather is being able to shed clothing. To wander freely in shorts, not having to wear socks, discarding heavy coats and warm coverings. The downside to this is having to be aware of all the things that want to bite you, sting you, and otherwise cause discomfort and irritation. So I plaster the exposed areas with repellent, adding the much-lauded Avon ‘Skin so Soft’ for good measure. I try to wear long-sleeved shorts or tops to escape the ravages on my arms, and rarely leave the house unprepared.
But they are never fooled or deterred by these careful preparations. These tiny insects and delicate plant filaments will seek out any chink in my armour, and punish me accordingly. To them, I am fair game. Something to be feasted upon, stung as a warning, or even just for fun. Because they can.
If I didn’t know better, I would think that all these minute forces of nature gather together for a briefing. They check their watches, almost 2 pm. He will be out soon. They wait to see me lumbering along my usual route, their delicate senses seeking out any uncovered or unprotected spot. Then they attack, all forces combined.
Perhaps they have become inured to my sprays and potions. Maybe they have evolved to be able to disregard them completely. Whatever the reason, my walks are becoming a feat of endurance of a different kind. No longer slogging through mud, encumbered by heavy boots. Instead, I have to try to avoid the obvious places where insects dwell; shady spots, under trees, close to the riverbank. This makes it almost impossible for me, as all of my walks contain such hazards. As the grasses and plants grow during the season, I can feel their eager tendrils reaching up beyond the limit of my shorts, in search of exposed flesh wherever it can be found.
For me, the consequences of my dog-walking ritual are legs covered in bites and itchy rashes. I have bites next to other bites, painful weals on my fingers, and I have to re-cover myself in creams and potions to avoid an evening of scratching.
But I would take it over rain, any day.