The Fly

With my estranged wife returning back to Leeds from County Durham today, I’m residing back at my mums residence on the Wakefield borders. An event which’s proved a catalyst to melancholy on my part.

Despite always endeavouring to take a positive from any existential episode, since yesterday’s re-departure of my marital home I remain bereft of this upbeat notion. Rest assured, though, you’ll be the first to know if/when that epiphany surfaces.

Upon re-entering it’s chambers three weeks ago today, the calm imparted from housesitting my former fixed abode of 23 years provided great catharsis.

Only the second property I’d ever bought, it was my first procured in the city where my roots have lain for over two centuries. A metropolis in which I was born, but left as a young boy when my parents relocated 90 miles north to Gateshead after my pater’s job promotion.

I’m unsure why a career arsonist needed to move with his job, but shift area we did. When reflecting upon the conundrum now, I can only assume 1960’s County Durham possessed a larger number of wooden structures; along with more readily available supplies of firelighters.

Quite clearly, I’m kidding about my old man being an arsonist. With his allergies to the smell of cordite and fire alarm noise, malicious fire raising would’ve been a career choice imparting Malcolm Strachan with the smallest of job brio.

My old man’s job was the managing a hide and skin factory. After finishing my ‘O’ levels at the age of 16, I spent a few days working in the yard at the factory on Hawkes Road in Gateshead.

My fleeting role the collection, loading and unloading of sheep skins onto wagons, along with the salting of said pelts. It was a filthy, tiring job in a rat infested yard, but I bizarrely remember those few days work with fondness. Especially when receiving gratis meat products from some of the butchers where we collected skins.

My dad’s and the main office’s working conditions were better. That being said, I recall dining on a takeaway fish and chip lunch where the office vinegar bottle arrived complete with floating dead fly.

I’ve no recollection if this acetic acid imposter deterred me from adding the condiment to my ‘land and sea’, although I suspect it would’ve done. I know manufacturers put worms in tequila, but I’d venture the diptera wasn’t part of the original vinegar recipe; as such I’d have most likely passed.

I do recall, though, wondering how the hell the fly got into this vinegar bottle. After all, it was significantly larger in size than the container lid hole. Sadly, though, if this was the David Blain of the insect world, it appeared to’ve perished mid-act.

Perhaps, I shouldn’t have been so germaphobic after witnessing this acetic acid imposter. From memory, the fare in most Gateshead chippies back then was pretty rank. Addition of this fly infused vinegar may’ve raised the foods flavour to a whole new level of taste.

As I’m less squeamish about food and its accompaniments these days, would I have used the aforementioned contaminated acetic acid if presented with it now?…… Well, as long as it wasn’t the one who landed on Mike Pence’s head, who knows.

Not that I’d be able to tell if the fly in the bottle was that who’d temporarily resided on Mike Pence’s head during US presidential campaigning. After all, the insect is unlikely to be wearing a t-shirt bearing the words ‘I landed on Mike Pence’s bonce’.

And if it did the clothing’d be so small I’d not be able to read it anyway. I suppose if I could prove it was a UK resident I’d be able to rule out the fly had once been a tenant of Pence’s barnet.

There’d be no way an insect that size would be physically capable of flying across the Atlantic Ocean, for onward contamination of a UK vinegar bottle….. Unless, of course, suffering from post traumatic stress disorder after the incident with Pence, it’d escaped to the UK in a freight cargo, ergo avoiding the tiring flapping of wings eastward.

That being said the fly’s nationality would also be difficult to ascertain. To the best of my knowledge, diptera don’t carry passports or driving licences. Additionally, they’re unlikely to have utility bills in their possession, which would ease the process of its national identity.

Taking all that into account, I guess it’d be prudent to avoid the jeopardy of dowsing my fish and chips with insect infused vinegar.

If I can work out a way of writing a blog in a straight jacket, tune in tomorrow for another instalment of lockdown lunacy.

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