On my mind
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).