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Whilst working away quietly on my computer today, I heard screams from the deck.It was Gill and she was being attacked by wasps. I heard her shriek, “Every woman for herself, Mrs. Beeton!” as she raced inside, leaving poor Mrs. Beeton(my pink parakeet) to fend for herself as a wasp circled her cage. I doubt that the bird had much to fear from the wasp since her feathers are very thick and fluffy and getting through them to sting her would be problematic. The wasps do, however, scare her enough that she flaps and occasionally falls off her perch. Undignified but not fatal. Gill, it must be said, had bigger problems.

Allow me to paint the scene, dear readers. Gill arrived here in Canada with a boil near her eye and a severe case of what she believes to be Trench Foot. Last summer it was Athlete’s Foot but the year in the damp of Britain seems to have upgraded it to the more serious condition. Perhaps she spent more time than usual in the trenches of London. (To hear her tell it, her office was trench central with leaky ceilings and mice occasionally falling from the ceiling.) Since she already takes many meds for her arthritis and Crohn’s, she was reluctant to add more potent pharmaceuticals for what she deemed merely an annoyance.

“Why don’t you take your foot to the doctor?” I asked. “I don’t like the look of that thing. Your one toe appears to be turning black.” The toes were becoming truly disturbing looking –this observation made by someone with bunions, crooked toes, broken and permanently misshapen toes and dry, cracked skin on her heels. So if I say they looked bad, they looked BAD.

“I don’t think it’s that serious, ” she muttered. “Perhaps I’ll casually mention it when I take my boil (near her eye) to the doctor. . . or not. I’ll see.”

When she returned from the boil expedition, she announced firmly that she refused to take the doctor’s advice and take strong meds for the foot fungus. “He said it could get serious but I don’t like those meds. Dr. Best will consult the Tinternet to see if there are alternative remedies.”

“Right, because the Internet knows everything,” I noted sarcastically.

She found a treatment — soaking the foot in apple cider vinegar. And so, every afternoon, she has ‘tea’ with Mrs. Beeton on the deck while soaking her foot in vinegar. Problem is, the wasps are attracted to the vinegar. Gill hates wasps and whenever they buzz around her toes, she shrieks.I personally think she has more to fear from the other critters who might be attracted by the smell, wrongly believing (because vinegar goes hand-in-hand with fish and chips) that such crispy delights are on offer for dinner. Critters such as raccoons, squirrels, coyotes, neighborhood dogs (including The Pig whose nose was to ground immediately when the vinegar came out.Possibly she planned to douse the chipmunk she was hunting with some tasty vinegar before she devoured it.)

Three days into The Cure, Gill was fed up. Her foot stank, the wasps were everywhere and the critters eagerly awaited her arrival on the deck.The Trench Foot had not improved. But not to worry. I expressed concern for her fellow passengers when she flew home, still contaminated with foot fungus.

“No problem, Ma. I brought my best ‘airplane socks’ to wear when I fly. Nobody will suspect the dreadful secret ‘that lies beneath’ on my feet.”

“If you say so. But be sure you take a long shower before you fly. . .I didn’t want to say anything, but your vinegar fragrance arrives well before you do.You won’t even present a challenge to the sniffer beagles at the airport.”