I was astonished, ladies and gentlemen, to learn of the investigation by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) into the origin of the idiom — to run around like a blue-arsed fly; an idiom that means to be very busy.  In particular, I was surprised by the OED’s initial proposition that the origin of the phrase could be traced to a 1970 quote by HRH Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh.  As many older Aussies can tell you, the phrase has been around at least as far back as the 1950s and probably longer.  I was also surprised to learn that the phrase may actually have its genesis in another country – America.  I’ll be blowed!  (Word nerds can read about it here and here.)

Well, what got me thinking about this idiom?  It was my Philotheca myoporoides.  It is flowering profusely at the moment and the bees and flies love it.  I’ve never seen a blue-arsed fly before, but now I have.  Technically though, it is a blue-abdomened fly.  Now now, no need to split hairs.  So the thought process was inevitable.  Wanna see the fly?  Ta da. 


I can’t stop at just one fly photo.  Check out this gorgeous little hoverfly.

hover fly

As the Minnie Riperton song goes:

“No one else can make me feel
The colors that you bring
Stay with me while we grow old
And we will live each day in springtime.”

Coincidentally, or maybe not, it is that time again.  Time for another song.  Because it is Friday.  You guessed it.  Sing it with me.

This is my response to Terri’s Sunday StillsIt’s A Bugs Life, and the Ragtag Daily PromptInsanity.  I know.  It makes no sense.

Kind Regards.





67 thoughts on “Bluey The Fly

  1. I love those hoverflies and so do my wildflowers which have now all faded and wilted under the frost. I never heard of blue-assed flies. In my world they’re called blue-bottle flies and this is THEIR season in Monte Vista. Late September/October they’re a pestilence. Forgive me for not listening to the song, but I remember it. 😉

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      1. You are welcome, Tracy. I always have time to talk about my Australian teachers! I studied in a school run by Jesuits. Our principal and vice principal were from Australia. We would also always have a couple of young Australian volunteers to teach at school. They would stay on for a few years and then be replaced by others. They were a huge influence on us and the reason I have a warm spot for Aussies. 🙂

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      2. That was quite some time ago, Tracy. They were the best. Our school flourished under them. There is sex abuse by clergy here too but thankfully most schools have remained untouched.


  2. Love the photos Tracy. I’m fascinated by how even the smallest phrase can become contested cultural property. I do it as much as anyone (woe betide anyone who calls Scottish inventions and culture English 😉), but I do wonder why it matters so much to us.

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      1. I’m pretty sure he’s English 😀
        I’m sure you are right about identity, and I guess part of what bothers me is how invested people become in an identity acquired so often as an accident of birth. And how easily it slips into xenophobia.

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  3. I love to learn the story behind idioms! Your fly photos are beautiful. (I never thought I’d hear myself say that!) And a trip down memory lane with Minne Riperton. As I’m reading people’s blogs, I’m constantly amazed at the number of songs I once knew and had forgotten.

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  4. What a fun read, Tracy. I needed a few giggles as we’re up to our goosenecks in house problems I’m trying to fix. I really don’t care much for flies but this little bugger is rather attractive – at least, his rear is a very pretty shade of blue. Thanks for the respite from fumigation tenting and kitchen flood mop ups. Oh, and it’s nice to know that the USA is responsible for something much nicer than the orange haired psycho who thinks he’s in charge of running the world – OK, not going there. I’m running around like a blue-arsed fly, trying to patch up my old house.

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  5. Fun learning about the idiom, Tracy! And beautiful shots by your TL. 😄 When you’re busy in German then you have ‘bumblebees in your behind’ (‘Hummeln im Hintern’). 😄 But don’t ask me why. 😂

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