Preparing for the otters of the outer islands…

I’m still concerned about the lack of Otter repellent in El Corte Ingles. When I asked the nice girl in the hunting and fishing department, she just looked blank and offered me some mosquito repellent.

No, I explained, I want nutria repellent.

She hunted through the database, and eventually came up with some shark repellent. Not quite the same, as this has to disperse in water.

By now, I was afflicted with the acute embarrassment that comes over me whenever I take up more than five minutes of a shop assistants time without buying anything.

So I bought the wonderful contraption that I found on the desk. I have no idea what it does, but I assume that from the wheels and springs on it, it’s to hold the sharks mouth open if the shark repellent doesn’t work. It only cost me five times what I was planning to spend on the otter repellent, too.

Fortunatly, the GF was happy to return it for me. In fact, she insisted.

Now, you may be wondering about this otter worry. But, seeing as to how every guidebook I’ve read so far waxes lyrical about otters in the Outer Islands, I’ve started having flashbacks to Wind in the Willows. That Otter was a nasty piece of work during the fight to reclaim Toad Hall.

You’ll also remember the graphic attack-on-human scenes in Born Free. No, sorry, I’m getting confused with Ring of Bright Water. Still, much the same.

So I was interested to notice that SuperTurre has started to stock large, Albacete made switchknives.

Now, penknives are a Spanish tradition, as long as they’re from Albacete, the Spanish version of Sheffield. Which is why SuperTurre is allowed a vast selection of extremely nasty looking personal weapons at the checkout.

I was flipping them open -no, I didn’t cut myself although I did manage to pinch my thumb whilst closing the blade- when the GF arrived with the shopping cart and told me to put it back.

It’s for the nutrias I explained.

No it’s not she said firmly. “Put it back”.

At this point Gabi from the checkout chimed in.

“It’s great for eating with” she said cheerfully. “Open it up and slice it up”.

“There you go” I said.

“Look” said the GF with patience, “you can’t go on Easyjet with that in your pocket. They’ll think you’re Al Qaeda”.

I muttered something about checking it in hold luggage.

“You bought a rucksack so you didn’t have to pay for hold luggage” she pointed out. “Plus, didn’t you say that carrying a concealed blade was illegal in the UK? Anyway, a nutria is a just a large water rat and it’s not likely to go for the juglar, despite your worries. Just stay away from rivers”.

Gabi was looking a bit blank at this point. “My husband uses one to cut up oranges out on the finca” she offered helpfully.

At this point the GF realised that Gabi had probably never heard of a nutria and though we were using a slang word for food, which is why she was lagging behind the conversation.  A brief explanation ensued, at the end of which both Spaniards were in agreement that the only thing in danger from me with a six inch concealed blade was my thumb.

So, knife crime in the UK? Forget the rules and regulations. Just let the boy play with the knife, imagining he’s James Bond, and then have several Spanish ladies discuss, into agreement, that you’re going to loose a finger. Bubble popped, the boy will never touch a concealed blade again.

So, Gabi firmly put the knife back on the rack. “My conscience wouldn’t let me sell it to you” she said.

Meanwhile, I’m still worried about the nutrias. Anyone got any suggestions for coping with wild Scottish otters?

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