Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Lady of the Flies

OK. War. I went into the local market town to arm myself. I paused briefly to admire the window display of the local army surplus store but moved on. I am not sure my knife skills are yet adequate to pin a fly to a chopping board at 10 paces. I am hoping by October. I may have over reacted but this morning was genuinely disgusting. I bought two swaying, beaded, clacking curtains to hang from the two frontdoors. I fear they may give the cottage the air of an Amsterdam bordello but if I get pestered by punters walking slowly up and down on lads' weekends, I will take them down again. Usually, it would take about three years to manage to put the hooks up to hang them from, but since I have a team of highly paid professional builders still in situ, someone should screw a couple of hooks in for me over the next few days. I also bought two plastic fly swatters. I bought two on the off chance I might get to keep one when the boys discover them and take them out to the garden to hit each other with. I am probably wrong. I bought a poison pen to wipe round the windows and doors although it does strike me as slightly Agatha Christie. I also bought pretty transparent sunflowers to stick on the windows and a wasp trap on the off chance that the flies make it past the beads, the swat and the sunflowers and fancy a Carlsberg. The wasp trap may have been overkill since it is technically for the wrong kind of insect but I am guessing that flies do not have a strong sense of self awareness and might not realise we are operating an apartheid system and the drinks are only for the wasps. There is also a blue electronic butcher's light perched on the fridge. Actually, two, as the shop insisted you buy them in pairs. I am slightly worried at the metaphysics of encouraging insects to fly towards the light; perhaps though, blue oblivion beckons to a jammy fly paradise. The shop did not have any electronic bats and had sold out of sticky fly papers but the final weapon in our kitchen Death Zone is a fly trap, basically a large plastic bag which requires powdered "bait" and a litre of luke warm water. I do not think I have the stomach to use it. It says it "catches up to 20,000 flies every trap". 20,000 flies? I think I will retain it as my nuclear option.

34 comments:

Pig in the Kitchen said...

You may be interested to know, that in the last five minutes, I have roasted a fly.

I mean literally roasted it on a baking sheet. I popped the tea in the oven (Bean Burgers, do drop by and look at them on my blog ;-), then when I returned to check progress, there did I spy a quivering fly. By the time I had opened the oven in disgust....Roasted.
Another option for you in your fight against pestilence.
Pigx

laurie said...

really, the plastic fly swatter is all you need.

Swearing Mother said...

Or a bunch of lavender.

But the nuclear option is good...... although the fly swatter is far more fun (but not for the flies).

sunshine said...

Let's see -- two boys, two fly swatters? Should've gotten three!

"Pig" might be onto something (chef that she is--). Cover a baking sheet with honey. When it is full of stuck flies, roast at high temperature till crisp. Dip in dark chocolate -- and have your sons open a roadside stand selling the delicacies! Keeps sons busy, gets rid of flies, gives you time to have a glass of wine!

Hey -- before you get sick -- people eat chocolate covered ants, don't they???

Norman said...

We once bought a fly-eating plant at the Eden Project Centre in Cornwall. It was marvellous. Not many flies flew into the house, but those that did, never left. We never saw them again either. That plant grew like wildfire.
And no, before you ask, it didn't burp after each fly was dealt with.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Sunshine, you really do have it in for us Northumbrians, don't you? Now you want to feed us chocolate-covered flies???

Iota said...

Two boys, two fly swatters, 5p bribe per dead fly (or 10 minutes extra tv time, or a smartie, depending on your parenting ethics) - problem solved and children entertained into the bargain.

@themill said...

Tell Frankie to move his bloody muck midden!

sunshine said...

M&M -- so sorry to denegrate Northumbrians!

Alternate suggestion: Label them "McFlies", and ship them over to the U.S. It's lately been proven that we'll consume anything with the "Mc" label on it!

Tina said...

I think you've covered all your bases with the flies! Best of luck

ChrisJ said...

Oh WITN, you've got it good both ways. Your posts are a riot (or sometimes disturbing!) and the comments are getting to be as good as the posts! But no shipping flies over here to the US. We have enough of our own. We once lived near a pig farm. The flies were more disgusting than the pigs. Down here in So Cal August is fly month on our patio. But believe me, it's better than the mosquitoes in Minnesota. They eat you alive.

Isobel said...

Basil (growing) helps to repel flies. Mint helps too.Both also look and smell good!

Mopsa said...

What's frightening is the speed that bluebottle eggs can grow on a piece of raw meat mistakenly left out of the fridge. On the other hand it would be a way of keeping the boys entertained - they can watch the eggs being laid, hatched and then turn into wriggly wee maggots. Who needs zoos?

The thinker said...

It sounds as if Mopsa is suggesting you start a magggot farm in your spare time. Now there's a thought - supposed to be very lucrative.

Swearing Mother said...

Maggots are fantastic for de-sloughing nasty wounds and stuff, they do a really good job of tidying up gangrenous stumps, etc, but please don't try this at home folks. It's definitely a hospital only thang.

Just thought you'd like to know that.

Jeff said...

Don’t know what a butcher’s light is, but perhaps you might be better served by locating a bug zapper some distance OUTSIDE the house, thereby encouraging the flies to remain outside rather than come inside. Besides, it seems a bit inhospitable to invite them inside to what becomes for them a chamber of horrors Better to just listen to them sizzle a bit outside. And think of the entertainment value for the lads...

Eats Wombats said...

This reminds me that I am LUXURIATING in the absence of ants in our London abode.

Columns of them filed into, out of and through our tropical home at will and NOTHING discourged them when they were really on the march. Of course, there were geckos on the walls, busy turning ants into dusty little poops, and chasing each other now and then.

On day one I saw a gecko at the end of an ant column with his mouth open and ants streaming in. I was impressed with his tropical life of riley at first. Then I noticed that the ant traffic was one lane in and one lane out. Mr.Gecko was, shall we say, very extremely tired.

But flies... were never a problem, unlike termites swarming from time to time, and roaches and snakes...

Golly, I had forgotten. When did you last reach for a remote control under cushion only to have it slither away?

Flies buzzing a window or screen to get out are merely irritating, but an angry hornet = goose bumps every time. I won't mention the spiders as big as sideplates whose unbelievable speed of locomotion could also make one jump out of one's skin. Oops, I just did.

So... count your blessings!

Altaglow said...

What interesting comments you receive! As I write from southern California I'm surrounded by flies, spiders (widows and recluses) snakes (poisonous and otherwise), scorpions (one in the bathroom today), brown bear (eating my neighbors garbage this morning) and God knows what else I haven't had time to reflect upon. The motto du jour here is "always wear shoes" __important for both insects and the aftermath of earthquakes. Always make lots of noise when you need to insinuate yourself into dark corners. And, remember to turn on your "fly zapper'--a small electronic device we are able to buy at the hardware store which incinerates flying insects inside your home. It's a good thing as it gives us some idle idea that we might possibly be in charge.

Rosie said...

What has happened to your nanny? You never mention her anymore. Did she flee screaming from Northumberland?
Rosie

tim relf said...

Wow, sounds like a real "shock and awe" policy. If all this fails, you could always try those stick fly papers that you hang from things. They work a treat!

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Lord, I do hate flies with a passion. As I speak I have two aristically placed fly strips in my kitchen with not one fly attached. But all of the things the kids throw at them to see if they'll stick? There isn't any room to catch a fly.

Mike said...

Yes, I want to know too where is Nanny 999. To Altaglow and the others writing from warm climes, you have to suffer somehow for that lovely wine!Not many flies here in Ireland this summer, but loads of rain if anyone wants to swap. We us ed to get a pudding in boarding school with raisins and stuff, that we called "Squashed Flies"- still ate it though! Good insect repellent is citronella and lemongrass oil on kitchen paper on radiator- radiator doesn't have to be on, assuming your weather is fairly warm.Put it near door.

Minx said...

Your flies are undone.

Jez Bell said...

Time flies. would you swat that?

wenders said...

I am writing from New Mexico, where I see two or three flies on a bad day. You have not asked for suggestions, but I will make one. Instead of paying your boys to kill the flies, which means that they would have to touch them to effect the body count, why not introduce them to the world of reptiles? Geckos are very cheap; they have huge maws that gobble up just about any insect going, especially fast ones; and they are nocturnal, mainly, which is an advantage if you are hesitant about decorating the walls of your lovely home with creatures that can run on the ceiling. The pet store will send you home with them in a brown bag, which you release under the sink. They will leave when there is no more to eat locally.
And, your boys could do research to establish which geckos would be best for your area.
Just a thought.
BTW, if I had a fly problem, I would also have a spots problem.

motherandother said...

Or if you can't find a gecko, a glass of pomegreat juice seems to attract them in droves. Slightly less scary than a big lizard wandering about while you are asleep...

mutleythedog said...

Have you ever thought of training a Pied Flycatcher to sit in your kitchen? It might work you know...

catcrazy said...

God I hate flies in the house..nasty little things..I still find the best way to kill them is ..put a nice sticky jamjar on the kitchen window sill with warm water in and just watch them drown

catcrazy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liz said...

I'm a northerner living in London, and the culture clash does work both ways. Ludicrous for such a small country, but very real. I regard London as a very unfriendly place where people are too paranoid and preoccupied to be human half the time - but I won't return to the north, because it is too cold! My fantasies about living in a warm climate have been severely damaged by these accounts of creepy crawlies. One thing about Northumberland, the flies vanish in winter, which is due any day now.
All I have to contend with in Islington is snails and slugs, which eat my plants so fast I might as well plant fivers in the garden in the first place.

Sir James Beiggelschwarz said...

There you go, Wifey! Girl after my own heart.

ade said...

I bought a fly swatter about 5 years ago, a really big fly entered the house and I went for it...guess what! the swatter snapped in two.

Make sure you buy one with a sturdy stem, yet at the same time quite flexible.

One need skills in how to swat a fly properly, it's not as easy as you think. I have got my skill down to one swat to destablise the fly the next to kill.

The best is to go from the top; down approach, like Navaratilova does her powerful serves in her hay days.

I bet she swat flies very well. I can't imagine a fly buzzing in her bedroom and escaping death on the first swat.

merry weather said...

Ah, an Amsterdam Bordello, now there's a thought. I do admire the way you're never still Wifey, always something new to ponder at your place! Erm, are you drawing on experience then with the beaded thing...?

Sometimes weird stuff just happens huh. Wait for it to pass. I over-reacted enormously when there were mice in the loft. But there were a lot of them. It was the fault of the dear old lady next door who emptied her fridge out for the birds each morning. Sounds yuck anyhow, poor you, hope the nuclear option is not required.

Christine said...

Our village, which les a little to the north of yours, had a plague of flies last year. I eventually resorted to the vacuum cleaner...