"Have you noticed that fly sprays don't seem to work any more?" I muttered grumpily to the caregiver.

I had sprayed the kitchen of our holiday house but the pesky flies, which distracted me as the tea brewed, appeared unaffected by my efforts to terminate their existence.

I seem to recall that in earlier years, a quick squirt swiftly had them on their backs, ready to be swept up in the dustpan.

"I think they've removed the guts out of this stuff. I bet the namby-pamby greens have something to do with this," I said, pointing the finger at the usual suspects.

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"If the formula's been changed, it'll be for a good reason," responded the caregiver, trying to change the subject before I galloped off on a favourite hobby horse, ranting away about ecological "do-gooders".

I still believe, for example, that when preservation chemicals were removed from building timber - thanks to environmental pressure - it accelerated the arrival of the leaky home calamity.

I concluded the conversation by suggesting that on my next shopping foray, I would try to find a more effective product to deal with the fly problem.

What I didn't expect was to return home behaving like a new-age ecological protection enthusiast.

"Look what I found in the hardware store!" I said triumphantly to the caregiver, holding up what appeared to be shotgun cartridges.

"Old-fashion flypapers, with no chemicals, just like my grandmother used 70 years ago. We just unwind the sticky paper and tack the strip to the ceiling and hey presto! The flies are swiftly dealt with."

"Yuck!" responded the caregiver. "I'm not having those disgusting things hanging in the house."

In the end we compromised.

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I was allowed to hang a single strip, out of sight in the laundry. Within 24 hours we were fly-free, because they had all been attracted and enmeshed in the sticky goo.

Suddenly I had a new sadistic amusement in the early morning while waiting for the kettle to boil - counting the flies caught overnight.

The caregiver reluctantly agreed that the method appeared highly effective, but still refused to allow the unsightly traps hanging space, other than in the laundry.

My only concern is that having rediscovered this ancient method for dealing with houseflies, without resorting to chemical sprays, am I in serious danger of turning into one of my favourite villains - a namby-pamby greenie?