Tuesday, 18 May 2021
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

How the vampires of the night are stealing my sleep!

Written by  Jul 04, 2020

What real purpose do the serve in the eco-system? When Noah took the animals two by two onto the Ark why would he decide to take a pair of these to save them? As far as I can see it they only have one mission in life, to wake me up, or indeed to stop me from falling asleep. Of course, I am talking about the absolute bane of my life in Dubrovnik summers, the diving bombing mosquito!

Is it me or have we been invaded by mosquitos this summer. Sure I am used to the whirling sound in my ear or the seemingly drunken flight of this horrible insect, but this year it feels like I am living in a black fog of mosquitos.

“I can hear one,” I whispered to me wife as we lay in bed. You know that sound, as if a tiny helicopter has just passed by your ear. And then the seconds of wait as you try to detect whether it has landed or is still on the hunt, or maybe didn’t see you at all. “Did you out the tablet in the wall?” she replied. I had. And it was right next to my head. It buzzed me again, filling my ear with that sound that makes you want to scratch all over. “It’s back,” I whispered. It was as if the mosquito was screaming “Here’s Johnny!” like Jack Nicholson from the movie The Shining.

After being bitten the previous night I had done some research on the pesky insects, trying to find their weak spot, their Achilles heel. I had made sure there was no laying water, I had a fan on (which presumably blew them off course) and we even had lemongrass near the house. I also found out, and I am not surprised, that it is only the females that actually drink blood. Whist the males live exclusively on a diet of fruit and vegetables, yes they are vegetarians, the females are the vampires. Not so much Count Dracula and Countess Dracula!



“I think it just bit me,” I whispered in the darkness. Maybe I should have said “she has bitten me.” And then after a few seconds the uncontrollable need to itch. Countess Dracula had found her victim. “I thought you put the tablets in,” mumbled my wife in the darkness. I had. And this is another annoying thing. It seems that my wife doesn’t need any anti-mosquito equipment when she is lying next to me. I am the bait! Either a) mosquitos prefer English blood, or b) females prefer to inflict pain and discomfort on males first. I guess both of these could be true. She had succeeded. I had multiple bites. My leg looked like it had measles. I didn’t know where to scratch first. And, as normal, in the meantime my wife had fallen asleep safe in the knowledge that my body was working as a beacon for all the mosquitoes in the neighbourhood.

I gave up. Got out of bed and tried to get my brain to forget the need to itch. Apparently this particular breed of mosquito was immune to the special tablets. “Can’t you sleep neighbour?” I heard as I walked around outside my house in the dead of night. “Bloody mosquitoes are killing me tonight,” I half-whispered. “Yes, they are really vicious tonight,” she answered. Tell me something I don’t know. It was 2 o’clock in the morning. I still hadn’t slept. I decided on plan B. Camouflage! It was a warm night but I had no option. I took a sheet. And covered myself like I was a murder victim on the streets of New York. Was it hot? Absolutely, but at least I felt my shield would offer me some respite and the chance of sleep. I did actually fall asleep, albeit in a pool of sweat, until the Apache helicopter of the insect world thundered its (sorry her) rotors in my ears again. Of course I has moved the “shield sheet” in my sleep.

The hunter had found a path to her prey again. How can something small be so terribly annoying? Dawn had broken. I gave up and got up, still scratching like a dog with fleas. The early morning sunshine filled the bedroom. I looked disgustedly at the anti-mosquito device in the wall. And then I saw it. The cause of my sleepless night. Whilst the actual electronic part of the device was in the wall and its little orange light shining, the small blue tablet was lying on the floor, unused. Clearly was pushing it into the wall in the dark bedroom I had tipped it to one side and the tablet had fallen out. The relationship between events or things, where one is the result of the other or others – cause and effect.

Needless to say I armed myself to the max the next night. There were so many aromas in my bedroom it felt like a Turkish baths. “The one thing that I cannot live without when I'm traveling is a small container of tea tree oil. It's not the most glamorous thing, but if you get a cut, a mosquito bite, a small breakout, no matter what it is, it's my little cure-all.” You’ll never guess who once said that. The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.


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