Faire mouche

Faire moucheThe heat of summer is upon us and with it, the hordes of unwanted guests. I’m not talking about visitors who’ve flown in from foreign parts, although we’ve had our share of them this year. Family is always welcome, at least for the first week.

No, I’m talking about the winged creatures of the Muscidae family, or common housefly, who set up camp chez nous each summer. Who soil my windows by day and shorten my nights with their blasphemous buzzing.

There are two schools: either you are someone who is not particularly bothered by such things, casually shooing when they get too familiar; or you turn into a veritable Kamikaze fighter when anything flies in your face.

I have two Frenchies (bulldogs, that is). One will look lazily at les mouches and simply twitch his ears. The other jumps to attention then tries to bite the intruder, repeatedly and unsuccessfully. It’s a personality thing.

My husband, when prompted to action, usually by me, is a fairly ineffectual swatter. Either he doesn’t have the killer instinct or his aim is off. Bref, his swat inevitably misses its target. Leaving us with a fly that’s on the alert and several marks on the walls or furniture.

I, on the other hand, will not be so easily foiled. I have perfected my fly-swatting technique to an art. If the little f—r is on a delicate surface that I don’t want dirtied, I perform a downward slash, then move in for the kill when he’s down. If he’s on the kitchen counter or another wipeable surface, I simply come down swift and hard. Always followed by an apology, of course: ‘Sorry, fly.’ In true Canadian style.

Despite these efforts, a seemingly endless troupe of understudies is waiting in the wings, as it were. As soon as one is down, another magically appears. The fly is actually quite an amazing little creature, as I discovered in this TED talk.

Every summer, I lament the fact that French houses don’t have screens. Yet, when we had a new house built two years ago, we didn’t put them in. Guess I’ve grown accustomed to the freedom of French windows, and the indoor-outdoor living that just wouldn’t work with screens. The fly swatter continues to be an essential part of my French summer survival kit.

‘Faire mouche’ means to attain a target, or achieve a goal. Mine is to make my home a no fly zone.

A votre tour: What’s your pet peeve about summer?



  1. davidprosser · July 17, 2014

    My pet peeve about Summer? In the UK there often isn’t enough of it ! No complaints so far this year though. WooHoo.
    xxx Mega Hugs xxx

    • MELewis · July 17, 2014

      May the sun shine down upon you, David. You certainly create lots of it for others! Bises xx

  2. Suzanne et Pierre · July 17, 2014

    The fact that there isn’t screens on windows was one of our first surprises when we arrived in Paris. I normally try to get the flies to got out the same way they came in…not always a successful technique but I am not that good at killing them…(Suzanne)

    • MELewis · July 17, 2014

      You are too kind! That is what I try to do with other pests but the flies are just too populous. Just like the skeeters in Canada.

  3. phildange · July 17, 2014

    Dragons and unicorns .

  4. ecarasella · July 17, 2014

    This is such a cute post.

  5. mindfulexpat · July 17, 2014

    I think I may have trouble adjusting to the lack of screens in the windows — and the lack of A.C. I’m not a crank-up-the-A.C.-and-freeze kind of person, but I generally don’t like to start sweating the moment I’m out of the shower again… I’ve done it a few weeks at a time in the past, but every time I’ve visited France, I always feel like I can’t quite get fully clean — probably a combination of the sweating and the fact that the showers are so small that I don’t feel like I can get a full proper scrub. 😉 Not sure how I’ll feel about it after a bit more time to adjust!

    • MELewis · July 18, 2014

      The lack of AC is definitely an adjustment for North Americans, especially at work. I could not live without it in Toronto humidity but did so for several years in Lyon. There are usually a couple of unbearable weeks, during which it’s better to go on vacation. Problem is, you never know exactly when they’ll hit! We moved from city to country some years ago and I started feeling clean again – fresh air and a big enough shower to spread out. A pool also helps! 😉

  6. BigLizzy · July 17, 2014

    Mosquitoes. Hands down. I hate ’em. This is a great post, my friend. France has no screens in windows?! Had no idea. OMG, I would die. 🙂

    • MELewis · July 18, 2014

      Merci Lizzie! It’s the lack of AC that really kills me. Kind of a catch-22: No air, so you leave the windows open and then bugs come calling.Oh well, you’ll just have to come to France in spring or fall!

  7. cheergerm · July 18, 2014

    Great post, nice that you say sorry after ending their little fly lives. I loathe flies (which we have a plethora of here in our Aussie summers) and mozzies. I have been told I am a human frog, I have an uncanny ability to squash flies with a swatter but I prefer to catch and squash using a tissue so as not to smash gross bits of fly everywhere. It’s a gift.

    • MELewis · July 18, 2014

      Wow, I am envious. You and Obama (remember that clip of him catching a fly in his hand?). Human frog, eh? Come to France, you’ll find lots of mates! 😉

  8. Pingback: Merde alors! | FranceSays

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