It is the Sunday morning service and we are gutsily singing 'For all the saints who from their labours rest', while above our heads is a painful sizzling sound, like ripping Sellotape, as a myriad cluster flies are zapped by an ultra-violet exterminator.

As, in the musical climax, the saintly deceased reach the 'calm of paradise', our voices are drowned by a long and mighty fizzing. Something large and airborne is having trouble shaking off the mortal coil. Even the Vicar, in his gold-trimmed chasuble, looks uncomfortable. My peaceable husband has a warrior outlook when it comes to the lower links of the food chain. On summer evenings he leaps gymnastically about the bedroom, swatting midges with the Church Times until the walls dribble blood.

This morning's violence is inevitable. Cluster flies have colonised the church in readiness for winter. Their whine gives an Amazonian flavour to the chancel, and they are dropping dead into the Jammy Dodgers. There is something Not Right, though, about mass murder during Mass.

But mass murder is worryingly infectious. Later I'm vacuuming the stairs and spy a tiny spider crouched on the skirting. Usually I liberate spiders through the window, but this one is too small to grasp and after a squeamish hesitation I aim the nozzle and suck it into oblivion. And suddenly a mad thrill of power seizes me and I patrol the house with the Miele, eliminating unwanted lodgers.

My house is now cleaner than it's been in a long while, but my conscience is not and it occurs to me that church may purify the soul, but it doesn't do much for my character.


  1. I have to admit that flies and spiders are exterminated in this house. We get a lot of them as the house backs onto fields and I am less squeamish than I used to be.

    Thanks for linking to the bloghop.

  2. Flies are fair game; does anyone seriously believe they have souls?

  3. all things bright and (Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz) all creatures great & small (tzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....)

  4. Flies are fair game I say ... my daughter won't settle for the night if there's a fly anywhere in her room even if it's tiny and doing no-one any harm. Spiders? Well that's another story - in the deep country where I grew up if you killed a spider you had to throw salt over your shoulder to ward off bad luck. Get out the Saxo!!

  5. I'm fairly relaxed about most bugs. they don't bother me at all. Hubby however, has pitched a one man war against all things creepy and crawly. He tells of epic battles against spiders which turn out to be smaller than a 5p piece.

    Fantastic post. I love it!

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