In which we are eaten by insects while asleep in our beds…

Mosquito (from the Spanish and Portuguese word for little fly)  is a common insect in the family Culicidae (from the Latin culexmeaning midge or gnat)

Little bastards thats what they are more like.

The one problem with holidaying on an island as verdant and green and as hot as Corfu is that such conditions and vegetation perfectly suit the breeding cycle of the mosquito and for some inexplicable reason this year has been a bumper year for the little buggers.

And as we arrived at our accommodation they peeped from their vines and whispered to each other in those squeaky little voices that they use “Mmm, fresh English blood” and they prepared themselves for dinner later that evening.

“Ha!” said we, “We shall thwart their every bite with this very excellent Boots insect repellant that we bought at Boots just before we left our home shores, for Boots, based in Nottingham England will surely know exactly how to rid us of the Mediterranean biting flying little bastard insects”

Not surprisingly, Boots the Chemist, based in Nottingham England actually know fook-all about dealing with Mosquito’s in another country 1000 miles away, because their mosquito repellant is nothing of the sort, I’d go so far as to suggest that Boots mosquito repellant should actually be re-named “tomato ketchup for mosquito’s” so much does it attract them to the user.

After a couple of days of being gnawed at all night long by invisible flying insects and with hands, face and ankles taking on the appearance of a pox-ridden peasant from some third world country that has never heard of Boots the Chemist we repaired to the local equivalent of a Tesco Express (but smaller) where a shirtless Greek man with no visible insect bites anywhere pointed out his recommendation, a particularly potent Greek concoction that the Greek mosquito’s hated, we smeared ourselves with the stuff and stinking of lemon merangue pie we took to our beds that evening with renewed confidence.

We still got bitten, we got bitten every night, one of our party, Mary, gave us some repellent that had “Jungle Formula” written on it, our Greek mosquito’s loved it, couldn’t get enough of the jungle formula repellent and when we stopped using it they just used to gather around the bottle and see if they could suck the stuff out of the cap to feast upon it.

Everyone got bitten, even Mary with her mobile chemist shop of potions, repellents, firewater and cure-alls got bitten, Janice in our party got bitten so badly that she had to go to the Pharmacist twice and got threatened with a Doctors visit for the veracity of her mosquito infected bites and then finally the funniest thing, Suzanne was bitten on her eyelid one night and it by morning it had swelled up so badly her eye almost closed, it looked like she’d just climbed out of the ring from a particularly brutal fight for the heavyweight championship of the world with Joe Frazier.

“Look at my eye” she sobbed, staring in the mirror at the hugely swollen eye
“I have to take a photo of this” I answered with my usual sympathetic tone, “it looks hilarious”

And so we had to take her to the Pharmacist (our party should have been getting good discounts by this time) and by the miracle of pointing at the affected area and shouting very loud in English we made the Greek medical lady understand that this (left) was not a normal state of affairs and that, honest guv, I had not been beating up on her, not even when she was asleep, oh no, not that its ever crossed my mind or anything (I’m sure she beats up on me while I’m asleep though, I wake up with some awful bruises some mornings)…

…anyway, the Greek lady at the Pharmacist gave her a tube of potion and some tablets and the next morning the swelling was even worse although I told her it was looking better, and two days later the eye was completely blackened just like a character in a Bash Street Kids cartoon.

You can only imagine how much I laughed and laughed.

So we continued through the holiday, counting the new bites on hands and ankles every morning and applying this awful Greek potion to them which stank of ammonia but which did actually ease the itchyness and every night we’d cover ourselves in another Greek potion that stank of lemons (but not nice lemons, smelly lemons) which did nothing to persuade the little buggers from biting us some more.

One of Janice’s bites was declared by a medical man to still have the insects head and jaws inside it and one of mine hurt like hell for several days  every time you touched it in the same way that a splinter of wood hurts when its stuck under your skin so I think that I probably had bits of insect jaw stuck in there too.

Every night saw me jumping up and down on our bed with towel in hand whacking the ceiling to squish rogue mosquito’s who had ventured in through the day and still they came in the night and then finally it was time to come home, chilly weather, weather that does not sustain lifes most annoying flying insect, and relief, time for our wounds to heal and slowly dissipate.

In our last hour on the isle of Corfu Suzanne and I were sitting in a beach side cafe enjoying one final slurp of strong coffee (me) and a Mythos beer (her), we paid the bill, I started to rise from my chair to leave putting on my flip-flop at the same time when – STING! – a wasp in my flip=flop, how could that happen, how can a wasp (and it was a big one too) hide inside a flip-flop, theres nothing to hide inside of , stung on the foot by a bloody wasp as a farewell present from the Greek Federation of Stinging Things, what a bastard and it hurt like buggery for three days afterwards, in fact it bruised the top of my foot, insects that bite so hard they leave bruises, Christ they make them tough out there.

Morning number two after our return home and we both woke up with a new mosquito bite – we’d brought one of the buggers home in our suitcase, what a bastard – it hasn’t returned so hopefully its perished in our very autumnal weather now.

As long as its not hibernating in the back of a wardrobe somewhere…


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