Tell people you’re moving to the west of Scotland and they will invariably warn you about the midges*, usually either before or after they warn you about the rain, and then point out that Spain has a nice warm dry climate and it’s easier to learn the language. But since moving here we have not really found the dreaded midg(i)es to be that much of a problem, maybe because we’re not in the Highlands, nor far west enough. There have been clouds of bugs, sure, but not a real biting menace.
Until, that is, I took it in my head to go and plant some bulbs on a still, dampish, mildish autumn afternoon when all the midg(i)es had settled down to their beauty sleep among the vegetation. From which I rudely awakened them and from which they rose up in a small, biting, enraged cloud to wreak their vengeance. It started with a few prickles on my head, and I went and got my hat and carried on, not thinking much of it. Twenty minutes later, with my hands, waist (damn low-rise trousers), neck, face, even my bloody eyelids, itching, I was driven in. And now I’ve woken up this morning covered in itchy bites and have been walking round Notso Bigtown’s Tescos scratching like the child you never wanted to sit next to in school.
The answer, we are told – used, apparently by the British Army – is Avon’s Skin So Soft moisturiser. I’m not sure I want to go down the whole Avon lady route (do Avon ladies even still exist? I’ve never seen one). Others suggest Coal Tar soap, eating lots of marmite or, for the desperate, one of these. Personally, I’m leaning towards the whole ‘move to Spain’ solution at the moment. But what do you do?
*or midgies, if they’re Scottish. Which raises the question: does this make the singular the ‘midgy’? Or is the concept of just one one midge so ridiculous it doesn’t arise?