Those restless flies. How many did you ingest?


The heat was evident early on. The previous night, one slept restless. This is often a sign of change in weather. We decided to go and visit a large book-barn situated not far from here. It is called Berkelouw’s Book Barn. It has books but also an indoor/outdoor restaurant and wine-bar. Berkelouw specialises in both new, second hand and antique books. At this particular venue in the middle of a vine-yard, they also hold weddings. On special requests one can also organise a ripping funeral as well. Something to keep in mind for the future. It would be rather nice to be buried surrounded by friendly books. They are so forgiving and don’t hold grudges.

I was rather chuffed to read that Berkelouw’s actually started their book shop enterprices in my birth city of Rotterdam in The Netherlands. Here a link;
Do please read this fascinating bit of a successful Dutch family’s migration to Australia.

After Helvi and I arrived at Berkelouw’s book bar we decide to have a coffee and browse through some books. We wanted to find large print editions of John Mortimer’s memoirs. The heat by then was getting hotter and with our dog Milo in tow I went straight to a table in the shade of a large conifer. Conifers always give shade and welcome humans for rest, giving a free renewal for mind’s spirit. A sustenance not easily obtained in pre-Christmas shopping malls! While Helvi was inside browsing Mortimer books, I ordered a Margarita Pizza and changed the coffee into two beers instead. You can see the two glasses of beer and the table setting at a photo on top of this blog.

I don’t know why this is so, but flies in Australia are almost an institution. You rarely see politicians being interviewed in the open air without battling swarming flies. They fling their arms about as if seeking flight. It is known as the Australian wave. The flies too are housed comfortably at Berkelouw’s. Especially after a pizza arrives. When the Margarita arrived to our table, the flies knew they were in for a treat. I understood why most of the people were inside. It took bravery and persistence to eat outside. Even so, it wasn’t too bad if you kept one arm free. One had to be tolerant, and imagine that the black spot on your slice of pizza moments before inserting it in your mouth was just part of an olive instead of a fly.

Of course, the setting of this book-barn is absolutely mouth watering. Just look at that row of poplars above the table. Next door is Berkelouw’s vine-yard. The whole place is built out of local sandstone. Superb architecture of stone and wood with magic fireplaces in use during winter. The flies are a minor issue, really. One could easily imagine being in Tuscany or even a French country-side somewhere north-east of Montpellier. At the end of our lunch I had eaten at least twelve flies and Helvi reckoned perhaps eight or nine. A small price to pay for such a lovely setting. The Margarita was great. Fresh herbs, especially the basil was spot on. We will go again but perhaps after a good thunderstorm. Flies usually disappear after a good storm. At least, that is what we say. It gives comfort.

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13 Responses to “Those restless flies. How many did you ingest?”

  1. shoreacres Says:

    But eating outdoors is so delightful — who cares about the flies? Honestly, I’d rather worry about the quality and cleanliness of the kitchen. If it’s ok, I’m good to go.

    Now, mosquitoes, wasps, bees, seagulls, and grackels are something else. Some of them inflict real damage, and others steal the food. A fly just annoys, and tries for a little sauce. Who can blame him?

    Now I want pizza and beer for supper.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The sheer volume of flies seems to be unique to Australia, Linda.

      It is one of the most complained item by tourists visiting Australia. That is why fly-screens, fly sprays and all products battling flies are hugely popular.

      On the farm, during the worst period, usually around Christmas we wore hats with a gauze right around the face which was then tucked inside the collar of the shirt. Even then, the flies were queueing up on the outside of the gauze and settle on nose, chin or other facial protuberances touching the gauze.

      Farmers used dead sheep in drums to lure the flies away from their living quarters. I remember on an outback trip using open tins of sardines a hundred metres away from our camper-van as decoys.

      One memorable event when I was young.

      My dad, during a heat-wave trying to start the lawn-mower. He pulled and pulled the starter rope. It would not start. The flies were relentless. My dad all sweaty and bothered had a major fly- rage. Who would not with flies crawling up your nose?

      He picked up a spanner he had previously used to clean the spark-plug of this disobedient mower. His eyes spoke of murderous intent. He followed the mob of flies swinging this spanner about. He wanted and needed a kill badly.

      Poor dad.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yvonne Says:

    Poor Solomon Berkelouw, you can truly say there were no flies on him!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Happy Go lucky Says:

    What a great read about the Berkelouw family. Yes Gerard the flies are bad especially at this time of year. It’s very odd because in Bali or Vietnam both with one would think, the right conditions, flies are nowhere near as bad. Perhaps they have more preditors there ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Fly screens are not used in Bali or Thailand. We never saw any and more than that, one could eat outside without hordes of flies on the attack. Yet, there are chickens everywhere, cows on the beach, a huge population, open drains…yet no flies.

      I don’t get it.

      Here in proper and clean Bowral, we have double glazing, fly screens and poisonous sprays held at the ready. Flies are banging themselves in a frenzy on the outside of our windows only for their bodies to be sucked up with the hand-held lithium-ion battery powered vacuum cleaner each morning.

      A melancholic task, if ever there was!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Graeme Mackreth Says:

    Plenty of protein in flies.

    I thoroughly approve of your beer choice.



  5. Jadi Campbell Says:

    I know those Australian flies! Go to my post for my experience with them…


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