It began with a flustered attempt at signing up various contractors for pipes, insulation and other things necessary to get poo away from you and keep you dry. And to stop rocks falling on your head, especially if you're staying in a top bunk. This relatively ill-timed session of to-ing and fro-ing from our friendly neighbourhood bank interfered somewhat with the first hangover of Southern Soul Festival, a 5-year-old party down on Velika Plaža, a long sandy beach south of Ulcinj, a stone's throw from Albania.
This festival ( http://www.southernsoulfestival.me/ ) will no doubt become a part of our summer season, as it's a short drive from the Grove, and takes place entirely in sand, making for a very summery atmosphere indeed. Alas, the sand hid a rare and oft-neglected creature, the Weever Fish, or "Dragana" as it's known here:
Doesn't she look just delightful?
On the final evening of the festival, the long-suffering Zoe, (escaping the incoming hordes of mosquitoes) was blissfully unaware of this angry upturned face, plonking her foot right on top in attempt to dive for a wayward frisbee (such was her commitment for the epic grab).
Cue excruciating pain. Upon being dragged out of the water by the rest of the team, Zoe was then met with a hundred action plans by relatively inebriated kitesurfers and bar staff, varying from, "PUT IT IN HOT SAND!" (the sand was no longer hot), to "You need to burn it with a cigarette!", to "maybe some rakija?" "I was stung by one of these up my bum and it hurt like hell", was probably the most entertaining comment.
Eventually the doctor turned up, looking decidedly relaxed / self-medicated, and casually offered the advice, "Hot sand, or we use a cigarette. Get this girl some rakija!" In between nabbing drags of the ciggy for himself, he used the heat of the lit end to "deactivate the toxin", which turned out to be the legitimate medical response, albeit using techniques not found in hospitals. Meanwhile Zoe got steadily more wasted as she was administered quince rakija in ever-increasing doses. Plus a couple of actual shots in the form of injections.
Needless to say, that with a pronounced limp, and too much medicinal alcohol, Zoe's night was over. Until next year, Southern Soul!