My son used to fence – as in sword-fighting. Due to an unwholesome influx of Diptera, I feel as if I have, metaphorically, grabbed a sabre, wired myself up and am now fencing against a foe with multiple eyes, many bodies and a decided disinclination to be caught and conquered!
Wouldn’t you bloody well know it? The week the house has gone live on the market, the week the first viewer has had a good old gander at said abode, our village has been over-run with hordes of stoned flies!
Honest to Goddess, you couldn’t make it up!
It’s Horror Movie Territory in my corner of the South West at present, as gazillions of the ELFs (Egregious Little Fuckers) zoom hither and yon, banging drunkenly into windows, crapping on everything, spreading Lord alone knows what, slamming into visitors’ faces and generally making my specially tarted-up house look about as inviting as a busy Morgue.
We dove, as one, to a local emporium which stocks fly-catching equipment of various kinds. You know the sort of things I mean: The long dangly jobbies which snag the hair at every moment and catch few, if any, flies; the round yellow circles you stick to windows (and then wait for potential house buyers to see, in full technicolour, your very own personal hecatomb in action); the Citronella candle which, though pleasant smelling, burns with such a huge and threatening black flame that curtains are in constant danger and that corner of the room comes to resemble nothing so much as the Fiery Pit of Hell.
Or, for those of a more hands-on murderous bent, you have the Zapper. Great fun, or so I am told. But not exactly a winner when you have to stop, mid tour of house, grab said WMD and explain, somewhat sheepishly, ‘Do excuse me: I have some killing to do…’ as you lunge for yet another fly.
We did our level best, before the people came round, to rid the house in a fly-friendly manner: Opened windows so wide I nearly fell out; used towels to usher the little buggers in a gardenly direction; prayed to Beelzebub (Lord of the Flies) to come and gather his minions around him for a sortie elsewhere – but, there was a huge problem…
…which requires me to whet your appetite by going back a tad. This part of June, in this part of North Somerset, is SILEAGE WEEK. Lovely jubbly! This, for those currently in a state of blissful ignorance, means that the local farmers make foetid and evil-looking heaps of – well, basically, turd, poo, shit – and, due to EU regulations (Oh, the irony) on spraying, said Motion Mountains ferment in the summer heated mugginess and, not to put too fine a point upon it, honk like hell and attract swarms of eager flies.
But, there is a sinister side-effect: The sheer sinus-removing strength of the pong has a decidedly hallucinogenic effect upon the flies, with the result that they arrive in domestic settings acting as if they’ve just smoked a spliff several times longer than themselves.
I won’t claim that they are all dressed in bell-bottoms, tie-dyed shirts and head-bands; but I am privately certain that they are bobbing about, off their tiny heads on Best Gold Manure, saying the fly equivalent of, ‘Far out, Man! Pass the Bong!’
Some of them end up on their backs, probably seeing pink dog effluent and multi-coloured corpses and cackling at life’s immutable hilarity.
Where was I?!
Oh, yes, the problem of trying to sell a house when it has been invaded by a fly hippie colony of stoners! Not to mention devices full of fly bodies swinging gently in the breeze.
The only good side of all this is that we are not alone. The Estate Agents’ office is similarly afflicted. As are all my friends. Most domestic abodes are currently more like murder sites as hideous buzzing and clouds of black death suggest that at least one victim is stashed under the patio.
I blame the Referendum myself!