Flies

“There’s no flies on you, just the spots where they’ve been”

“The flies are very friendly out here!”

I have this theory that city flies are faster than their country cousins. I can usually kill as many country flies as I care to and there are plenty to go around especially when you travel through cattle country after summer rains.

Around camp I chase the cattle away as much as I chase the flies on the basis that fresh cattle pats mean more flies in the future.

Fact. There are more flies in the country than in the cities because there are fewer people around to take advantage of the easier pickings.

Some people don’t like it when a fly finds its way into their ear and can’t get out again. Try not to put your finger in your ear before it escapes or you will get a squashed fly in your ear and they can be tricky to remove.

When a fly gets into your mouth it tends to interrupt the flow of conversation. Then you just have to stop, spit it out, or swallow it. It may be that you are talking too much.

Flies up your nose are bad news!

I was camped by the mouth of the Jardine River on the western side of Cape York one time and sitting looking at the wide calm waters and the ducks and egrets while I tried to ignore the flies. A couple came driving along the sandy track in a Toyota Landcruiser, winding their way between the trees and when they stopped they got out to take a gander. The bloke was short and his missus was normal size. He wore an Akubra hat with a high crown and leather jackaroo boots with high heels. He was still short, and shorter still when he squatted down on his haunches nearby to have a yarn. We talked about the places we came from, the parts of Cape York we had seen, and the places we were going. He had a weathered, chiseled face and china blue eyes under sun-bleached eyebrows. There was no doubt he had the manner and the look of a man who spent most of his life working outdoors.

When he talked you kinda did a double-take on all of that. As he spoke you got the idea that his voice had never broken. It wasn’t a man with a falsetto voice. He had the pleasant tones of a young boy who might sing in a church choir.

All the time we talked we wafted the flies away from our faces with one hand. These flies were the type that are particularly keen on your eyes. In his young boy’s voice the sun-burned jackaroo said they were just ’wet flies’ looking for a drink.

High winds can keep the flies and mozzies away. Rain will keep mozzies away and will usually keep flies away but if the flies are real bad they will ignore the rain. They know they don’t have long to live so they risk collisions with rain drops bigger than they are.

Flies in different places like different things. Depending on where you go you might find flies that like the sun and flies that prefer the shade or flies that live near water or out on the desert plains a long way from any water. It’s a good idea to notice these things and do the opposite to the flies. Up north, where summer temperatures are forty plus, the flies tend to like the shade. It’s not as hot up north in winter but they still prefer the shade so you can avoid the flies and work on your sun tan.

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