I am currently taking part in an experiment aimed at conserving some of Staffordshire Moorlands wildlife.Oh, I do love nature generally. Being an outdoor girl I love watching the changing seasons, spotting nature red in tooth and claw, even observing road kill up close on a country run interests me.
This wildlife, however I feel more ambivalent about.
Pearl goes to school over the border. Clearly The Real Housewives of Cheshire have no particular difficulties with parasitic infestations of any kind, and are far too busy being sprayed orange to give anything else headroom.
I however, as a transplanted Essex girl,have plenty of headroom and freakishly thick hair into the bargain.I like hugging. So does Pearl. She is currently hosting (purely for conservation purposes obviously) a herd / nest / itch/ incubation, of Staffordshire Moorlands finest head lice.They are a particularly hardy strain.It gets cold on those moors and they like nothing better than a mane of Pearl hair to snuggle into.
Despite my propensity for Toni & Guy hair colour (God bless the junior who admired my “natural”hair colour last week) I am itching. I used to think of this as a personal failing, but these days I am inured to it. I am simply a marvellous host.
I realise you lovely people have never struggled with such base and unpleasant visitors. When I say we’ve been clear of them for six months you’ll know that’s not the case here.
At this point if you are thinking of sending in helpful tips to get rid of the little buggers please don’t. Short of dousing them in paraffin or shaving our hair off completely there is nothing I haven’t tried, including:
Derbac M. The most hideous and strongly smelling pesticide you can apply to a human. No longer available for head lice treatment it is the only lotion I have found that truly works.
Tea Tree shampoo, to discourage them from hitching a ride. They don’t like the smell, apparently, unless they’re from Staffordshire in which case they just don’t care.
Electronic beeping combs to electrocute them. Makes you feel empowered and slightly psychopathic. The Glory is still having counselling from being held down and combed with one, while I maniacally shouted “die, die,die”. Doesn’t work though.
Nitty Gritty Combs. Now actually they really do work. I possess five. (At £10 a pop you can work it out) Can’t find any of them. Where do they go? Has the dog buried them? Are the teens hiding them? Has the Mister found a new and innovative technological use for them? When he (the writer of apps) creates one that kills head lice,then,then I’ll sit up and take notice.When I say they work, they work if you comb hair throughly and meticulously every other day.
Have you met Pearl? She’s feisty. She has sensory issues. She’s is non verbal but by no means silent. Her screams are ear drum fracturing .Oh and she hates having her hair brushed with and ordinary brush and she’s not big on keeping still. Chasing a wobbly girl around a room with a clump of her hair in my hand wielding said comb is not one of my favourite pastimes.
So as a nature lover I have some questions for the Creator, evolution or any passing naturalist. What are head lice for? What is a head louse’s contribution to the life cycle? What eats a head louse? What biological function do they serve? In short what does Pediculus Humanus Capitis bring to the party?
Urgent answers are required. If they are indeed worth conserving the comb goes in the bin. If as I suspect, no one really knows, stick your head out of your window, and you’ll be able to locate Cheshire from the direction of the screaming.