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Saturday, July 18, 2009


The tiger mosquito is a vicious beast but it has usually concentrated its feeding power on Toni’s legs rather than drinking the exquisite vintage of my Group A+. Last night, however, or possibly early this morning, it forsook its usual haunts and feasted instead on me! Sacrilege!

The Spanish with their mosquitoes are like the Scots with their midges – they are a never ending source of conversation. The gradual spread of the Tiger Mosquito (yet another foreign import from China – or the PRC as I have seen on some products as a subtle attempt to make consumers think that their every need is not being met form the Far East) causes even more animated discussion. The domestic mosquito is now treated with something like affectionate acceptance in the face of the much more malicious activity of the foreign invader.

For a country that has suffered from this vicious insect for so long they have yet to discover an effective deterrent and mollifying unguent to soothe the inevitable bites. Not, you must understand that the supermarkets are not filled with various quack remedies. There is a whole range of ‘plug in’ slow release chemical methods to slow the flight of the poisonous beasts. There are papers and sprays. The sprays are effective, but they have a corresponding deleterious effect on the humans that they are supposed to be aiding.

The latest innovations to restrict the pain laden irritants are electronic. You purchase a plug which, it is claimed will turn the whole of your electrical circuitry into a pulsatingly repulsive mosquito net. These come in various price ranges, but we have plumped for a €5 version sold in one of the larger Homebase-like supermarkets.

My bites may indicate that its success is limited!

I have resorted to the advice of our local pharmacist (or at least the person who works in the pharmacy) and have purchased a tube of clear gel which I have applied liberally to the swellings. This gel does not have the masochistically satisfying string of something like TCP – which tells you that it is working – instead it is gradually absorbed by the skin and it seems to be working. I am not sure whether it is the medical effects of the gel or the fact that I have, with superhuman effort, resisted the almost overwhelming need to scratch and allowed the swelling to subside naturally that has caused the bite to (almost) disappear. I am now putting my faith in the gel and am hoping that I can bring the placebo effect into place to aid healing!

The basic outline of the garden should be finished today and it will only be necessary to set the explosive charges to attempt to create a hole in the rock hard earth for the solar lights for the horticultural ‘canvas’ to be prepared for the inclusion of plants. Toni’s ideas for the scrap of land that we have are proving to be remarkably effective and all my misgivings about the concepts have proved to be unfounded. It remains to be see how the final details are going to be worked into the ‘hard’ gardening which has been done – but there should be something to show the first of the visitors when they arrive in late July.

Our ‘lawn’ is laid and while it does not have the smooth perfection of an Oxford college quad its interesting profile does make it suitable for boules. What is lacks in flatness is more than compensated for by its virulent colour which may have something to do with its 100% artificiality! In a fresh water poor country it is the only eco option open to thinking people!

The area around our real plants has swallowed up vast sacks of white stone chippings while the borders of the ‘lawn’ look quite dapper with their in-fill of volcanic rubble. Toni’s nephew who rambled quite happily on the ‘old’ garden refuses to set foot in it. While lifted and deposited on the ‘lawn’ he makes a bee line for the shadowy safety of the space under the first floor. This is a cool breezy area much loved by the indigenous inhabitants as they refuse point blank to eat in the sun. You can be almost certain that anyone eating in full sunshine in Spain is foreign. Test the hypothesis on your next visit!

August is beginning to look like a most social month with Gwen, Dianne, Emma, Paul and Paul Squared all making an appearance.

There are still vacancies left towards the end of the month –but you must hurry to be sure of a firm booking!

A swift glance at my watch informs me that it is the 18th so the first two weeks of the ‘holiday’ have slipped by in a sweaty, unbroken tranche of work laden days.

Ts afternoon for the first time for weeks, I lay out in the sun. And now I’m stinging! It just shows how long I have been away from my favourite star!

This must change!
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