It's all very well moving abroad to learn new ideas and develop fresh perspectives but you can take going 'native' too far. We are fortunate that we live on top of a hill and are far enough away from the flood plains of the Tiber to avoid being plagued by mosquitos. Last night was however an exception. It was unusually clammy and by nine in the evening we were being bothered by harvest flies and the tell tale buzzing of mosquitos - by the way the Italian for mosquito is zanzara a wonderfully onomatopoeiac word that sounds just like the saw tooth sound the little critters make. I am happy to douse myself in any anti-bug spray to keep them away- the more chemicals the better if it gives me peace and quiet. The 'font' however is on one of those spare the planet kicks at the moment so chemicals are a no-no. Instead of an aerosol of DDT we were treated to a rubdown with an evil concotion of garlic,lavender and rosemary oils. It was provided gratis by the local farmers wife who swears by it, having been tried and tested in her family for generations,her men folk (she says) go out into the fields by the river drenched in the stuff. Suffice it to say that the smell made me feel as though I was being prepared for roasting in the oven while the texture was so thick and rubbery that no mosquito would be able to get its probiscus through to the skin. I had a good long shower to get it off me and went to bed early. This is not a concoction that is going to find its way onto pharmacy shelves any time soon and I'm going back to spraying on Boots the Chemists finest agent orange preparation in future.
The boyz have had a fresh application of Frontline and new mosquito repellant collars to keep the bugs away from them. We are in an area where leishmaniasis is endemic so we try to keep them close to us at dawn and dusk when the insects are about. There is however no danger of them being bitten this morning - it's eight o'clock and already 28 degrees. They have settled down in the shade of the pine trees outside the house with a ball and are waiting patiently for the first visitor of the day to pester.