Where men run for cover

Peter Leith is 91 and has seen a lot of the world and a myriad changes – many good, some bad. And then there are some things that never change no matter how much we would like them to.


Before DDT and pyrethrum were invented, the mozzies around Lake Alexandrina, Meningie the Coorong and all the way south to Kingston, were something savage.

As plentiful as the pelicans, and not much smaller, they were frightening in both their size and voraciousness. 

The owners of cats and small dogs were warned to keep their pets in cages overnight or the mozzies would carry them away and leave their blood-drained bodies to be found outside in the morning.

Even the rabbits, if they came out to feed at night, never strayed far from their burrows and always had an air-raid warden ‘keeping nit’ for an air-borne mozzie attack.

My friends, Bert and Clarrie, worked for years repairing the ever-recurring potholes in the road between Meningie and Kingston. They lived together for many years in a shack at Pelican Point.

One night, Clarrie woke up to hear Bert shouting: “Get orf me yer mug! Git orf me! Git orf!!”

“What’s up Bert?” asks Clarrie.

“There’s this bloody great mozzie sittin on me chest,” gasps Bert.

“Aw stone the crows!” says Clarrie. “Yer wake me up for that? Give him a thump and kill the bugger!”

“Can’t,” Says Bert. “He’s got me arms pinned!”

Do you have a story or an observation for Peter? Send it to [email protected] and put ‘Sunday’ in the subject line.


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