Will you walk into my parlour?’ said the Spider to the Fly. #narrowboat #boating

I didn’t know whether to laugh or to regurgitate my supper.

Sometime during the night last night-  I have no idea when, except that it was dark – I got up to answer the call of the wild.

Upon engaging the (red) night-vision lights (yep, the Cardinal has them fitted) I noticed that a house-fly (boat-fly?) was catching up on some house-fly zeds on a very convenient surface. Since the night had grown cool this would be a sluggish and unwieldy house-fly at best. It would doubtless have the reaction-times of a post-prandial Bishop.

This fly had spent the evening being even more annoying to me than a tiny Jeremy Corbyn with added proboscis, or some Stazi squad of right-on feminazis screeching ‘woke woke woke’ while wearing campaign t-shirts manufactured for twoppence ha’penny in some genuinely Hellish sub-continental sweatshop… Bzzzzzz – land – walkabout – ear-hole – feet – back to the ear-lobe – bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz – fly-past – land – ooh, what are you eating? – may I have some? – stomp stomp stomp – wheeeeee &etc.

Flies can no more see in the red than can your average Chancellor of the Exchequer – this fly was mine.

I grabbed my trusty creature-catching tumbler and my sheet of stiff-but-thin card and scooped him up.

What I had forgotten in my drowsiness, or what I perhaps in my drowsiness gave not one care about, was that on my previous shambolic shuffle to the Necessary-Offices I had scooped up a rather belligerent, relatively small but perfectly-formed tiger-striped spider.

Ye (Greek and Roman) gods, you’ve never seen slaughter like it. Especially not in a glass more properly intended to hold whisky.

The spider had that fly before you could say ‘yum, yum, pig’s bum where’s me pudding?’

One very dead fly and one wholly unintentionally overly well-fed and happy spider.

Damned spider is going to assume that it holds some sort of “beloved pet” status now, isn’t it?

I suppose that I shall have to name the ruddy thing, just until he loses enough weight for me to prise him out of the catching-tumbler (which, incidentally, is one of those “free” ones that petrol stations used to give motorists in the nineteen-seventies whenever we filled our Sunbeam 1250TC tanks with ten gallons of four-star).

I award him the Borg designation ‘Four-thousand six-hundred and twenty-eight’ (so far this year).

In more familiar moments I shall probably refer to him as ‘Desmond’.

Or perhaps ‘He-Who-Is-Instant-Death-To-House-Flies’.

A legend in his own glass prison.

Q. Does this make me an accomplice to murder, again?

Q. Will it be wise, do you think, for me to rely in court upon ‘Your Honour, I wasn’t even awake at the time of the crime’?

Q. If I now throw Desmond onto some lonely stretch of towpath will he feel betrayed? Will he find his way back to the “groovy, magical digs where an enormous human hand feeds you fresh, tender morsels in the dead of night”?

Oh bugger – I just had to say the word ‘dead’, didn’t I?

Brings a whole new meaning to the word ‘Flyicide’.

Sniffles – vomits – laughs slightly hysterically.

So what’s new already?


Ian H.


  1. Someone on TV the only this week said that every humanbeing eats at least 7 spiders each year that crawl into their mouths as they sleep! The one I wrestled with recently was so big I had to use a mop like a jousting lance to prise it down from the ceiling – I may never sleep again!


  2. In the natural order of things, the fly would have been eaten by spider. You merely acted to make the process less elegant. And lets face it – who can act elegantly in the midconscious state between first and second sleep? Noone. Al the juries agree on this point.
    Also, however much he was acting of his own nature – it is damn annoying to have a fly in your immediate vicinity. They bring it upon themselves by REFUSING to take the many hints.
    Nope. I feel no remorse for the fly and congratulate the spider on his lottery win.
    Just when life looks like you are the worm int he bottom of the tequila bottle, it hands you a bit of free Casino Buffet.
    Of course i have been sort of softly rooting for the spiders who have joined the NB lifestyle with you all along. So I’m not unbiased.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right of course, I was just the unwitting Hand of Nature. My worry though is that I will now be hailed as the Spider Messiah – and that when I step off the boat there will be a sea of arachnids, all with fore-limbs raised in salute and chanting ‘Feed us, Holy One, feed us!’

      Sandals and beard are not a good look for me. I could be comfortable in the loose robe, but not the face-fuzz and the disastrous footwear…

      Why were spiders and flies invented? Why couldn’t we have tiny teddybears and miniature flying garden gnomes instead? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dislike spiders though I do I can’t help but be impressed by the single-mindedness and the absolute faith that even though he was captive in a glass, something edible would turn up eventually… and it did. The fly on the otherhand just screamed. As you would.


    1. He would indeed – No.10 is the epicentre of some sort of otherwordly moron invasion. Previous PMs, while hardly paragons of virtue themselves, must be spinning in their graves with embarrassment at the association by address!

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