4 Jan 2021
We went to Busselton in our states’ south west yesterday, to catch up with my Mum. It’s workable as a day trip, a bit under 3 hours each way, and of course we had to bring the dog along with us so she could have a lovely day time nap on the back of the car – as opposed to the lovely day time nap she normally has lying around the house somewhere.
Our plan to have some lunch with Mum by the beach overlooking the jetty was thwarted by the roughly ten million people who are holidaying in the south west at the moment, who all chose to gather near the jetty that morning.
We alternated our plans, in discussion with the dog who is of course a major stakeholder in what lunch options are available to her. We chose takeaway chicken and chips by the river. It actually sounded like a much better option, as the walking distance from car to park bench was a much better option for Mum.
We had completely forgotten, until about three seconds after getting out of the car, that picnicking in summer in the Busselton region is never an unaccompanied event.
There were about a million times more flies than tourists.
Attempting to eat while simultaneously waving hands around your mouth, eyes, nose, food, drinks, dog and elderly parent, was very hard work! Every time you put a bit of food in the direction of your mouth, half a dozen flies joined in for the journey.
After a while, I gave up and let the flies do what they wanted with my food, dog and mother, and launched my own Dalek campaign. You could hear the words “Exterminate! Exterminate!” resonating through my feverish attempt to rid the world of this fly, then that fly, then the other, and the other, and the other. All up I think I may have got rid of a dozen, which is a very poor outcome when you consider how closely bunched the flies were. I should have been able to knock off half a dozen each time I clapped my hands.
As we muttered about how bad the flies were, I was reminded of many many many holidays I have had in the southwest over my lifetime, and how often I’ve had occasion to complain about the flies. And then I remembered living in the north west of the state, when the oppressive heat combined with oppressive flies, brought new levels of discomfort to life.
Quite frankly, the fly nets that people wear over their heads always just irritated me, and if I sprayed personal insect repellant on me, I always managed to end up with it in my mouth or my eyes along with a bunch of flies.
The best fly deterrent I remember from growing up was a small sprig of a peppermint tree. Before heading out for a walk to the beach, because let’s face it in Busselton in summer, that’s where we were always headed, the first stop was the peppie tree at the front of Mum and Dads house to get ourselves a fly swat first.
It was very effective at deterring flies and was also a handy weapon against siblings when required – and smells nice too. The fly swat, not the siblings.
If anyone sees an elderly woman, a dog and a box of chicken and chips being dragged around Busselton by a horde of flies, let me know won’t you? I’ll head straight on down as soon as I visit the peppermint tree first.