Liz Fenwick's comment about encountering nettles on her first date with her husband reminded me of my first encounter with nettles.
It was on my first wedding anniversary. My dh had to go to a professional do. The lunch was held in a marquee in the grounds of a lovely old house out in the Shire. My dh went off to play cricket and as it was a hot day, I thought I would go swimming. Apparently there was a swimming hole and the water was refreshing. The man hosting the lunch had measured his length in it that morning and proclaimed it fit for swimming.
Anyway, I duly changed, and went in search of said swimming hole. I was wearing shorts. I can't remember ever finding it, but I did encounter thigh high nettle patches. Lots of them.
Now, I had never had any problem with poison oak. My brother and I used to play in it as children -- much to my mother's disgust. So I will admit to being arrogant and not thinking that I would get much of a reaction,.
I was wrong. Agony.
Yes, my dh said I should have applied dock leaves when I complained later that day. But I had never encountered the plant before, and he was busy playing cricket... He was sympathetic though and did go to the chemist to get anti-itch cream.
Then about eight weeks later when we went to Crete, a new rash appeared exactly where I had stung my legs. Agony a second time.
Ever since I have been careful about nettle stings. Unfortunately the garden does have nettles and I am chief nettle puller. Once I was stung so bad that it looked like I had burnt my neck and the sting took ages to heal.
Depending on the time of year and the plant, the potency of the sting varies.
Grasping the nettle is fine, but still produces a reaction. Leather gloves are the best option. As is weeding in long sleeves and long pants.
Anyway, the nettles are beckoning and growing, so I shall have to don my thick gloves and go out and weed.
Because nettles are rich in iron, they are recommended for anemia, post infection, post labour and liver problems. Other uses include sunburn relief, back pain/arthritis problems and dandruff. It needs to be made into a tea or tonic first. Personally I think there are easier ways.
In other news my author copies of Viking Warrior, Unwilling Wife arrived today. So I am busy getting the review copies sent out...