Are you ready for a rant? I am. Here’s a money-making idea for someone living in rural France: sell fly-wire screens. There’s an apparent shortage of the things in the Aravis valley and beyond, despite the poo from farm animals such as this cow in La Clusaz ensuring an ample supplies of flies all summer long. I’m prompted to write about this because of the huge influx in flies in the last week with the return of the warm weather. Coming from Australia, I’m used to flies, but I’m also used to fly-wire screens. These screens, made of mesh that’s small enough to prevent flies and other insects from passing through it, allow the air through on hot summer days and nights when flies and mosquitoes are plentiful. During the hot weather, the occasional fly would get in the house, but it was mostly a fly-free environment.
Since moving to France, none of the seven houses I’ve lived in have had any sort of fly wire screens. I’ve looked all around and I don’t see any houses or businesses (and yes, the flies love cheese shops) that make use of this simple approach to keeping flies out. The lady next door comes closest with her door-length fringing. I think it’s actually one of those modern indoor string curtains that has gained popularity in France recently. Perhaps it works, but it still looks like a curtain on the wrong side of the door to me. Fly-wire screens may not be the most attractive adornment either, but they’re guaranteed to be effective against flies.
In May, my trusty old fly swat of two years was broken. It’s my own fault: I’d left it propped up against a wall instead of hanging it by the hole in its arm. A curly swat is not much use. In my desperation to kill the flies, I bought the first fly swat I found — the blue one pictured here. It’s from the supermarket, and it lasted an entire day before it broke. I continued to use it despite bits of blue plastic breaking off every now and again, making the skill level involved in the killing process just that bit higher each time. The other fly swat was a gift (who says romance is dead?): I love the extra detail of the fly on the swat area. But can you see anything wrong with this swat? You can see from the black plastic mesh that it, like my old trusty one, is not flat. It’s not bent a lot, but the reduction in surface area gives some flies a few moments longer to live and requires a few more swats from me. I could buy some sticky fly paper, but I feel sorry for the flies who stick to it alive and have to await their death. At least the swat is fast.
But I can’t help thinking that if fly-wire screens were more common on houses in the Alps, flies wouldn’t make it indoors in the first place. It was some Aussies who live down the road who found me through this blog and suggested someone could earn some money by introducing the French to fly-wire screens. I suspect the French love the appearance of their beautiful chalets a bit too much to ugly them up with the screens I’m so used to seeing in Australia. But with so many non-French around, i can’t help but wonder if they’re onto something. Can someone sell me some screens please?