It's been a bad week for nettles. As Léon mentioned in his blog the other day, he was already suffering all sorts of itches, so the last thing he needed this week was to learn the hard way what jaggy nettles are.
Thomas and I were sitting on a log by the canal having a picnic when Léon decided to join us without warning. He had been at our feet watching the ducks. He crawled up beside us on the log and sat down in floods of tears muttering about nasty plants. He raised the legs of his shorts to expose two legs covered in scores of white sores all the way from his knee to his shin. We concluded he had crawled through a stinging nettle to get to us. Poor wee man, nasty jaggy nettles.
Today we were gardening - I noticed a very large nettle in our garden and remembered poor Leon's pain. Thoughtfully, I took a spade and dug it out from the root. I brought over the organic waste bin. I made sure not to touch the leaves and picked it up by the stalk in the middle. I remembered from childhood that the stalk is ok, it is only the leaves that sting, and given this was a huge plant with a central stem about 2cm wide, I wasn't taking any chances. The bloody thing instantly burned my thumb badly... hmmm was it actually thistles you are meant to hold by the stalk? I am no longer sure - but it sure isn't jaggy nettles - my thumb has been throbbing all day, worse than my last wasp sting, and that was a queen! :-( I guess that makes me a nettle numpty.