On my mind

Llanelli Star - - Letters - With Gra­ham Davies ■ Fol­low Gra­ham on Twit­[email protected]

THE fly in­fes­ta­tion in Llanelli has been par­tic­u­larly dis­tress­ing for a lot of peo­ple.

To read re­cent re­ports that these flies may have come from Eng­land caused many to fear that this was an­other in­cur­sion by the mailed Nor­man fist fly and a re­turn to feu­dal­ism, monas­ter­ies and manors.

This in­deed is a fea­si­ble de­vel­op­ment since flies tend to fly in a straight line, then make a rapid change in di­rec­tion be­fore con­tin­u­ing on a dif­fer­ent straight path, en­abling them to con­fuse the most so­phis­ti­cated anti-fly radar at the Welsh bor­der. Many species are ter­ri­to­rial, for ex­am­ple male hover flies, bee flies and fruit flies, and this may in­di­cate a new ag­gres­sive ap­proach by the English to the nor­mally pas­sive Welsh fly.

As the sec­re­tary of KEFOW (Keep English flies out of Wales) re­cently stated: “The words of Ger­ald of Wales, Cam­bro-Nor­man archdea­con of Bre­con, have never been more per­ti­nent: ‘This na­tion may now be ha­rassed, weak­ened and dec­i­mated by your flies... but it will never be de­stroyed by the wings of an in­sect’ (ex­tremely roughly trans­lated from his Itinerar­ium Cam­briae (‘Jour­ney through Wales,’ 1191).”

This will not be the first time that in­sects have been used in con­flict. In the sec­ond Parthian War, scor­pi­onstuffed pots were thrown at the Ro­mans; in 1944 Ger­many was ac­cused of slip­ping Colorado potato bee­tles into Bri­tain to de­stroy the crops; North Korea ac­cused the United States of re­leas­ing in­sects in its agri­cul­ture.

Then again, from Napoleon’s con­quests to the Amer­i­can Civil War, mosquitoes and yel­low fever, lice and ty­phus, fleas and plague have been a bat­tle strat­egy. You good peo­ple of Llanelli will have suf­fered mis­ery from the flies, but I hope you will have had a chuckle here try­ing to sep­a­rate the truth from the flies (sorry lies).

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