Fun times. One of those days I'm terribly thankful not to be a. a bloke or b. a plumber. Major house drain blocked with vast root from the chestnut tree on the drive. The tree has an appetite for ordure which is pretty gross, but hey - it's a tree-thing and who am I to question its need for sustenance? Anyway, chestnut had sunk its roots deep into the drain and despite repeated attacks with rope attached to his ( white) van, Donald the Heroic Plumber was unable to shift the mess of tendrils and tolys( tolies)* by so much as an inch. Meanwhile yesterday's missing midges are making their presence felt, so Donald is doing the dance of doom under the offending tree. I'm upstairs peering at yesterday's crop of ticks and realizing I need spectacles to see to remove them - the ticks, not the spectacles.
So satisfying to tweak them off with the useful tweezers on my Swiss army knife. I have seen tourists reduced to blubbering heaps on discovering that they have been bitten by one measly tick. We have guests that turn pale when we recount the ticks removed per annum. Obviously tourists and guests are imagining they're about to fall down frothing at the mouth with incipient Lyme's disease as opposed to itch and scratch for no more than, say, ten days. In these latitudes, we do a slick, quick, chick, tick check every bathtime or morning after we've exposed our succulent flesh to ticks by enjoying a walk through bracken and grasses. Our response to discovering that we're a seething mass of squirming pests and infestations is determinedly casual. It's a bit like the kind of blitz mentality that had people sauntering to their nissen huts with half-drunk cups of tea in hand, rather than dropping everything and fleeing for their lives. We have to keep the whole damn-I've-got-ticks-sucking-my-blood thing low-key and non-hysterical in order not to have the little girls having stereo hissy-fits. When they're older they'll probably be furious with us for exposing them to things that crawl and suck, but right now, the smallest little girl was heard to say - look, mummy, a dear wee spider's running across my legs.
That was no spider.
* A toly is what my children refer to as a 'poo'. I think 'toly' is the more elegant form.