Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. Except, flying home from Spain on Sunday over the Bay of Biscay , it was clear to see the cradle of our summer weather problems….you could look down and see what the jet stream was brewing there, and the head on the beer just went on and on. The account below was written in 2010 and spoke of events in 2009. Our summers have been odd since at least 2008, with the last scorcher in 2006. Implications for the UK Tourist Industry, offset against the effects of recession?
‘The weather was odd at home last year in 2010, and even in N Italy where we went in August 2009…it was very changeable, cool at times, and there were cracking thunderstorms nearly every day. Forked lightening like you could scarcely believe. Now, you can’t see the bites in this photo, taken near Florence that summer, but the Italian for ‘mosquito,’ I can inform you, is zanzara. And the word for a bite is puntura. These are helpful words to know when you need to go to la farmacia.
I had received a warning about the mosquito campaign from the Tarot, fat lot of good it did me. The warning was presented as follows.
The Page of Swords (A Page card in Tarot can mean something small, swords can mean air and something that is sword-like and sharp – like a needle or in this case, a bite or sting)
The Page of Pentacles Reversed (ie in Tarot’s language ‘debased earth’, prefiguring the infection of said bites, round and swollen and red, the opposite of the green associated with pentacles cards, the suit of earth. )
The Page of Cups Reversed. Ahem. Not looking one’s best going round impersonating a human giant measle. The suit of Cups relates to healing, happiness, well-being and beauty. It corresponds with the element of water, and therefore also indicated a need to ensure maintenance of adequate hydration.
I had upon reading this duly armed myself with repellent ( ask for controlgio d’insetti, folks) after our first night there. Did it work? Did it heck. But don’t let that put you off. It might for you.
Then – and perhaps I reacted unusually badly because my immune system was depressed, I tried anti-histamines, hydrocortisone, lavender, tea tree, TCP and finally, a course of antibiotics from a gentle Italian GP who came out 40 minutes after being called. This allowed us the guilty thrill of using that little plastic E111 card for the first time. The service was brilliant though it did cost 25 euros for the call-out, but hey, it was 7.30 on a Saturday evening. We were grateful. Would we have received such a prompt response at home?
We need the Jet Stream to move north. I think we’ll have some better pockets dotted fairly regularly throughout August. Better than June and July, I mean. Another fairly crummy summer so far…but we will never surrender. We will fight it in the garden, and in front of the telly, and in good company, and with a cup of cocoa and….
One of the hottest summers I remember, was two weeks spent on the Appin Peninsula in NW Scotland. And it was sublime. It was glorious, and there were white sands and blue waters to rival the Med any day. The only problem (- there is always a serpent in paradise) was the darn, pesking clouds of mozzies.
I think that’s where I came in…