Don’t sweat the small stuff …..

…. or the smallest of things – and by things I mean living, alive and kicking things.

And to narrow this down I am referring to the minute ticks and irritating midges that abound in the Scottish Highlands during these summer months.

To explain a midge to fellow South Africans, imagine a “miggie” crossed with a “mozzie” on steroids, but are 1/10 in size. They thrive on warm humid conditions with little or no wind, so much so that you pray for wind everyday. And apparently according to those in the know, I have only experienced the better days. They swarm in clouds and make a bee line for any emission of carbon dioxide. You do not feel the initial bite/sting – described perfectly via wikipedia as follows “When a midge bites, it uses its pinking-shear-like mouth parts to cut a hole in its victim’s skin and injects an anticoagulant to stop the blood from clotting so that it can feast on the resulting pool.” This results in swelling and itching on the site of the bite, which remains for days – the itch of which is incessant, which you then absentmindedly scratch till it looks like you have a bad case of chicken pox.

Then you get the ticks.  Some as small as a pin head. And when you go walking in the highlands there is no escaping them, regardless of what you wear. Fortunately they are not as deadly as their African brothers, but are equally as determined. And….. according to google …… they can survive 476 days without a host. So even if you have not been out walking for days, these feisty little critters can be found traversing your skin and attaching themselves at any time of the day, the removal of which requires a pair of tweezers and plenty of curse words. They also leave behind an itch that is incessant.

But as irritating as they can be, the itch does eventually pass if you do not aggravate the bite site, which got me thinking how this can be compared to the daily life irritants we are exposed to. Don’t scratch at them, try and let them be as they too will pass. I.e – don’t sweat the small stuff.


The exquisite Highlands which million of ticks and midges call home 


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