Where do flies go in Winter?

Happy New Year everybody!  Hope you had a happy and cosy Christmas.

Sorry, I’ve been away for a while, not literally, just, you know, away from my blog.  Not making any excuses, sometimes there are more important things in life than writing on here ya’know.  I’ve been busy having a good time with my lovely family – eating, drinking and being merry.  Piling on the pounds.  But now I’m back on the 5:2 wagon to try and lose said pounds, and am going to get down to my blog again to focus my jellified mind…

This last couple of weeks have been somewhat dominated by errmmm… small critters. I was going to say insects, but that’s not technically correct (Ha! I’m not giving any smartiepantsies the opportunity to lecture me if I can help it!).  Doesn’t seem right at this time of year though does it? One would think they’d all be hibernating somewhere out of sight in January.  Where do fly’s go in Winter? I’ll tell you later, but first the Cave debacle.

Creswell CragsWe are lucky to have a wonderful prehistoric site quite local to us called Creswell Crags its a pretty limestone gorge dotted with caves where archeologists have found artefacts dating back 80,000 years.  It is also the home of some Ice Age wall art – the oldest in Britain.  There is proof that Bears, Lions, Tigers, Hyenas and Mammoths have all walked through the gorge at some time in the past.  Its fascinating.  We thought we’d do a tour of the caves.

We were provided with hard hats with lamps on the front (very fetching) and followed a very nice chap into the cave where he was telling us about all the exciting finds, and letting us hold flint arrowheads and stone tools etc.  We were in a very low part of the cave, and had had to keep our knees bent to stand up (all eleven in the group, including me, banged their heads on the ceiling at some point) when the nice chap grinned, looked at the group, and said ‘and how are you all with spiders?’

Well, those of you who know me know that I suffer from quite extreme arachnophobia and despite my best efforts I started to panic at even the mention of the darn things.  It got worse as he shone his torch to the ceiling to show us the large shiny brown Boris’s (and Boris’esses it turns out…. he told us how to tell the difference…ewww…who cares…) that were dangling from webs that were attached to said low ceiling.  Yes, that one. The one where my head had been.  Where probably the hood of my coat had been, which was probably now full of ’em.  I was sure my back was covered in them, Indiana Jones style. (incidentally, somewhat pleasingly one of the children, an eight year old boy, who was busy pointing and saying ‘oohh..there’s another one, and there…’ was called Harrison. It didn’t make me feel any better at the time though.)

‘Are you alright’  asked nice blokey, shining his torch into my pink sweaty face.  He’d heard my rapid breathing. ‘Er no…’

‘Its’ all right they’re slow moving’ Bless, he was trying to cheer me up. Ewww…

He took my arm. ‘I’ll show you something really wonderful, you’ll really like it. It is spider related, but really lovely, you’ll like it’ he coaxed.

I was practically curled up in a ball trying not to touch any surface, I was struggling with tears (it was really enclosed and dark, and I am a wuss) so with great, really really great, reluctance I let him lead me to a dark corner. He shone the torch up in to a gap in the rocks

‘get your head up here’ he said yanking me forward (‘noooooooo’ I thought) ‘Isn’t it beautiful, like a christmas decoration?’

‘Noooooooooo’ I thought again. It was a bloody nest. A bloody Spider’s nest.

‘There’s thousands of little one’s in one of them’ He said, grinning. Not sure if he wasn’t just being mean now.

Frankly, I couldn’t get out quickly enough. Palpitations and sweaty palms, brushing myself down and ewwwwwwing went on for about half an hour after we’d got out into the fresh air. The trauma of it is still affecting me. It’s why I had to write it down.

It’s silly. Phobia’s are silly. Irrational. Daft.  A grown woman should be able to get over herself.

I can’t. It’s both a mental and physical revulsion/fear and I’ve been trying since childhood to control it.  I’m a bit better these days, and can catch small blighters in my catcher contraption.  I would never kill them, and I hate it when someone squishes them on my behalf.  I just wish they would be as fearful of me as I was of them, as people keep telling me they are.  (they are not. They would not come into my house if they were.  And those ones in the cave didn’t run away and hide when they saw us coming, they just stared haughtily at us.)

Anyhoo, I promised to tell you where flies go in Winter.  In my loft it seems.

We have suffered an infestation of Cluster Flies.  Never heard of ’em? No, neither had we until a couple of weeks ago.  Apparently, they like to sunbathe on white, southfacing walls like ours, and when the sun goes in they crawl up under the eaves and snuggle down for winter.  If it’s nice and cosy, they invite all their friends round.  Gazillions of their friends.  I gather that if you leave them they will go away in the Spring.  We chose to use special smoke bombs on them.  They’re all gone now.  Sorry flies.


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