Ask no ques­tions and hear no flies

The Leader (Tasman) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE -

Au­tumn has slipped into win­ter, which is alarm­ing, see­ing as how sum­mer never quite got around to ar­riv­ing.

Granted, win­ter in this area gen­er­ally just means more blue skies, with breath­lessly cold morn­ings.

We prob­a­bly won’t have an op­por­tu­nity to make snow­peo­ple on our lawn – I re­mem­ber the Great Motueka Snow Dust­ing of 2010, when my part­ner in­sisted I take pho­tos out­side our flat, and I re­garded him with South Otago dis­tain while rem­i­nisc­ing about the epic snow­drifts of my child­hood.

There are a cou­ple of ben­e­fits to the on­set of win­ter, how­ever.

The first: I’m think­ing about brav­ing a right­hand turn on to High Street. (Not the Green­wood Street in­ter­sec­tion, though. Never that.)

The sec­ond: all of these dis­gust­ing house­flies must surely now go into hi­ber­na­tion.

I’ve been hiss­ing in fury at all of the flies in my house for months now.

There have been so many. They’ve in­vited friends. They’ve had par­ties. My dis­gust seems to en­tice them.

Friends and I lament to each other that it’s been a par­tic­u­larly bad year for them.

It’s not that our houses are dirty, we con­sole each other – not very, we amend in a tiny foot­note.

So how to rid our­selves of them? I was will­ing to try any­thing, as long as I didn’t have to re­sort to those hideous sticky strips. My all-nat­u­ral fly spray lit­er­ally left a weird taste in my mouth.

I like those nifty ten­nis-bat zap­pers but can’t be trusted with them - I once flailed at a mos­quito in the dark, and gave my poor long­suf­fer­ing bed­fel­low an elec­tri­fy­ing wakeup (we can laugh about it now).

I begged for help from the crys­tal ball that is Google. Boil rose­mary sprigs, it ad­vised sagely. I did.

My house smelt lovely. The flies thought so too. They crept closer. They landed on my wooden spoon.

In de­spair, I went to Mitre 10 and bought some dis­creet card­board fly­bait cor­ners with sticky in­ners, for $20. One hun­dred per cent of flies will en­ter within 48 hours, the pack­ag­ing promised.

And per­haps the flies did en­ter, but they didn’t like the de´ cor, so zero per cent stayed.

I re­turned the use­less cor­ners to the hard­ware store, and reached in­stead for the hate­ful un­so­phis­ti­cated $3 strips. Their vis­cous yel­low goo was gar­ish against my white walls.

But you know what? With ev­ery dron­ing black in­ver­te­brate that met its sticky end on them – 47 flies fused to one, and a pleas­ingly even 50 to the other – those hideous strips be­came a lit­tle more beau­ti­ful.

The com­mon house fly makes a lousy house guest.

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