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It started on Sunday 18th. July. We had gone down to our allotment so that I could harvest the remaining Swift salad potatoes and dig the ground over for the next crop. I had harvested the Anya potatoes a week or so earlier and we were going down there to repair the bean frame and get the beans in where they had been. All well and good, the Swift potatoes had done quite well despite being chitted for too long, planted out before the big freeze-up earlier this year (not the January one, the later one). The Anya had done pretty well and we had a good crop of them, [livejournal.com profile] apademek likes them with salads as they are quite waxy.I had heard about Swift being even more "waxy" than Anya and wanted to give then a try.  I kept finding that the pototoes were shoving themselves up and out of the soil because that part of the allotment was composed of clay and stones mostly. Thus the Swift had not done as well as I'd hoped and quite a lot were green from exposure to sunlight. Anyway, I harvested as many as I could find (a few always hide and are found next year when they appear amongst the other crops).

During the harvesting I discovered where the red ant colony had relocated to by the simple expedient of digging it up. There are some 42 species of ant native to the UK, and based on where they were, their colour and the size of the nest I suspect these to be wood ants. These critters bite and inject formic acid.from their stings (note to entomologists - not all ants can sting).

When I got back I managed to wlak past a bush, knock a bee off one of the flowers and ito the hole in my gardening jeans, and got stung on the right knee for my clumsiness.

Later that evening I discovered I had a small insect type bite on the side of my right hand middle finger. I assumed it was from the ants although I hadn't felt one bite/sting me. Monday came and went and there was no change. Tuesday it had swelled a little. Six or so years ago, I had been bitten on the ankle by a Blandford Fly or other member of that family and got blood poisoning. A course of antibiotics over a week had cleared that up. I thought I'd better watch this carefully. Wednesday came and it got worse so I booked into see the doctor on Thursday. She looked at my finger, called it a paronychia [1], and prescribed a course of flucloxacillin and said that it would be all cleared up by Monday.

No chance. By Friday morning it was much worse and I considered going to A&E at the JR. I called the GPs' surgery and they squeezed me in at the end of the day. The doctor took one look, prescribed some more powerful antibiotics and got me booked into the JR for the next day for an operation.

The squidgy bits, alitalfbeware... )

So here I am back home with one well bandaged finger that keeps operating the mouse buttons on its own.

[1] I haven't put any links to images because they are fairly graphic. Type "paronychia" into your favourite search engine if you want more information. Go for images if you dare.

[2] I never take them, they don't work. I may have several boxes around here gathering dust by now.

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