Tag Archives: spider

Good day, bad day

Good: my thesis extension was granted, with no conditions. Hooray!

Bad: after yesterday’s close encounter of the 8-legged kind (discussed at great length on my facebook profile – basically I got up, was having a wee, turned my head and saw an ENORMOUS spider in the sink), today there was one (similar size) in my office. That’s never happened before. I was just about to leave to go home anyway, and it scuttled across the floor, so I have left it there and will have to brace myself to dare to open the door on Monday morning (where no doubt it will have either extensively reproduced and there’ll be a million of them in there, or it will have covered everything in a webby cocoon. Or with any luck will have found its way into somebody else’s office). The reason I was about to leave, earlier than usual, was another evil headache. I’m getting fed up of this now. I’m seriously thinking about buying an eye patch, as it’s nearly always (like, 95% of the time) on the same side of my head, just over and all round my left eye) and if I close the eye it’s so much more bearable, but keeping one eye open and one eye closed takes surprisingly large amounts of concentration, I’ve discovered. And then my friend sent me a photo by text, and it has completely buggered up my phone, so I now can’t send or receive texts or access my inbox, as it keeps going straight to the MMS template box instead expecting me to send pictures, AND I keep getting messages saying the memory is full, even though I’ve deleted tons of things as it’s far too complicated anyway and I just want another crappy Nokia half-brick as they do all I want and more and I know where I am with them. Needless to say I had a little cry at the bus-stop, it all just got a bit much 🙁

But – we have a shipmeet tomorrow (four of us have had birthdays ending in -0 this year, making a total of 150, so we are celebrating our 150th which has a nice pleasing ring to it – we won’t discuss who is the most ancient of this select band) (*weep*) so it will be fab to see people again. And hopefully the horse pills will have knocked the headache on the head (pun unintended) by then.

HD starts his new temp job on Monday. So is leaving here on Sunday, and we’ll be weekends-only for a while. Having very mixed feelings about that – happy he’ll have work, happy he’ll have money, happy he won’t have to deal with the Jobseekers’ Allowance lot for a while. Unhappy he’ll be a 5 hour drive away and only here for a couple of days a week, mildly unhappy that I’ll have to do a lot more cooking (!), unhappy that I’ll have to deal with any other 8 legged intruders by myself, but mostly unhappy that he’ll not be here. Sigh – just desperately wanting a decent employer (anywhere) to notice just what an asset he’d be and give him a full-time permanent job so we can settle at last (and I can have a good excuse to not be a health visitor for any longer than I have to – not that I am any closer to knowing when I start, never mind when I can stop!).

London shipmeet

Today HD and I went into London town to meet up with some people from the Ship of Fools.  We started off at Tower Hill and then crossed Tower Bridge and walked along the South Bank.  I have to say, some people walked really really slowly!  But, I did have a good time, it was great to get back into London (and out of Luton for a bit!), and brilliant to see a number of people I’ve not seen since Greenbelt, or in some cases since I left London over 3 years ago, as well as to meet a few new people, including Kelly the guest of honour from California.  I took some photos which are here.

We stayed as far as the Tate Modern, but apart from looking at the big spider (brrrrr!) in the Turbine Hall HD and I only had time for a quick look round the shop (for a birthday present for a friend) before we had to head back to Luton. Everybody else carried on walking and were aiming for a pub near Waterloo, I was really sad we couldn’t go but needs must this time. If anyone fancies saying a little prayer for us, HD has a job interview next week (this is why we headed back, so he could spend some more time to prepare a rather scary-sounding – not to mention rather long – presentation he has to do). His contract here finishes in a few weeks’ time, so it would be good if we knew what life might hold in store (and at least where we’re going to end up) sooner rather than later. Thank you 🙂

Not one for the arachnophobics

IMGP5958For the last couple of weeks this spider has taken up residence just outside the back door of my in-laws’ house. The left hand edge of the web in this photo is attached to a tall shrub, and the right hand edge is partly attached to the top of the door frame and partly seems to stretch out for ages till it meets a shrub on the other side. There’s another similar-sized web on the other side of the door, though I haven’t met the occupant of that one yet.

I haven’t felt scared of this one as it’s slightly too high for my head to brush it. HD though had a bit of a shock this evening when he went to take out the empties and went eyeball to eyeballs with this spider!

Every time I see this web it reminds me of my favourite Far Side cartoon (which, irritatingly, I’ve not been able to find on the internet). There are two spiders who’ve just spun a web at the bottom of a kid’s slide, and two fat kids at the top of the slide about to slide down. One spider says to the other “If we pull this one off, we’ll eat like kings!” I think of that cartoon every time I see a big web at human height – I guess they’re nothing if not ambitious!

Weekend drenchings and Beautiful Things, and Smudgie’s Revenge

This past weekend saw us in York for the annual birthday walk of our best man. Our second date was his birthday walk a couple of years ago. This year was a shorter walk, with a last-minute change of location due to the weather forecast (the place where the picnic was planned was forecast to have 23mm of rain in 9 hours, which doesn’t sound like ideal picnic weather to me!). We did about 5.5-6 miles on the Wolds Way in North Yorkshire, and very nice it was too. The first couple of hours were more or less dry-ish, but the final hour it chucked it down with rain, so despite all being kitted out in waterproofs we all got drenched. Here are some pictures (the last one isn’t black & white, by the way!):

IMGP5550IMGP5553
IMGP5557IMGP5560

We decamped back to York to have the picnic in the church, which frankly was much more civilised, though as I had only got my cheap non-breathable cagoul in the walk it was as wet inside the coat as outside it, so I was very aware that I didn’t smell very civilised! Apologies to anyone who was there who was too polite to say anything.

After the picnic HD and I had a wander round the shops before heading back to R’s house where we freshened up and prepared for the evening invasion. Some of the walk people, and some other friends who hadn’t been able to walk earlier, pitched up for food and an attempt to reduce R’s collection of random obscure spirits (many of them from eastern Europe, the quality of many of which can be imagined). HD and I and a few others very much got into the spirit of the activity, with a number of simultaneous knockings-back of spirits followed by a collective verdict (which was generally gauged by the extent to which our faces screwed up after swallowing!). For most of us, the worst one – which elicited the most dramatic reaction – was a Latvian offering which included the word ‘balsam’ in its name. Frankly it should have been named ‘creosote’, because that’s what it smelt like – it was revolting! Though rather alarmingly HD didn’t think it was that bad (it reminded me of the wine-tasting a couple of years ago where he rather liked the wine that the rest of us declared reminded us of old ladies’ wee). The other notable one was a Hungarian spirit, in a bottle shaped like a hand-grenade, called Zwack. Even HD didn’t like that one (I think Balsam was worse, but it was a close-run thing!).

Before you think we spent the evening drinking hideous cheap nasty eastern European engine oil, I should add that I spent most of it knocking back some utterly wonderful home-brew sloe gin. I could have drank that all night (to paraphrase Eliza Doolittle). Actually, that probably doesn’t improve the overall impression, does it?

Yesterday morning HD and I drove up to Penrith, where we went to the rather fabulous Potfest in the Pens. HD collects ceramics, and I have picked up a few nice bits and bobs of ceramics over the years too, and so we were both pretty much in heaven. A huge room (I’m guessing from the floor and the ambient smell that it was for many years a livestock market) full of lots and lots of Beautiful Things. It was gorgeous. We spent a couple of hours looking at every stall, then after lunch we went back to make our purchases. When we’d first got there, the very first stall we’d seen in the main hall had a beautiful ceramic lizard which I’d really liked, but I’d thought I’d better not buy something till I’d seen it all. Once I’d gone round the whole thing I still really really wanted it, so after lunch we went back and as we got to the stall I just managed to see the artist removing the lizard from the wall and selling it to someone else. It was almost one of those slow-motion film-like moments, with me leaping towards the stall with a silent “Noooooooooooo!!!” on my lips. Fortunately he said that he had a couple of others in the car so told me to come back in a few minutes, so we went on our way to look for some presents for various family members who have birthdays coming up. When I got back there he had indeed got the lizard from the car, and then I discovered that he didn’t take visa and I didn’t have enough cash! Argh! So I had to phone HD (who was at a stall on the opposite side of the hall) and ask him to lend me a tenner, which was a bit embarrassing. But I have my Beautiful lizard now (definitely worth a capital B), so will just have to think of the best place to put it. It really is Very Beautiful Indeed.

After that I got the train back to Glasgow, and HD headed back down south. I was looking forward to a quiet evening after the weekend’s adventures, but sadly that couldn’t happen as there were horrors lurking behind the bathroom door. In the bath to be precise. Regular readers may remember my adventure last year with Smudgie the Spider – read about it here, here and here. Yesterday’s 8-legged monstrosity was the same size as Smudgie, though was a lot easier to get to as it was in the bath rather than lurking down the crack at the back of the toilet or on the (very high) ceiling. However, the battery in the spider-hoover-upper was a bit wheezy (understatement), so I had to be Incredibly Brave and cover the beastie with a cereal bowl (a BOWL! I wasn’t sure the mugs would have a big enough diameter!). Like last time, this wasn’t just a quick chucking out of the door into the corridor – once again, there was a ceremonial chucking onto the street, where it scuttled off without so much as a by your leave (thankfully!).

I had to have a bit of a lie down after that, I can tell you!

Arachnaphobics look away now … or at least don’t read the last bit of this entry

I first realised I was getting old when, in my relatively early 20s I saw Take That on Top of the Pops and realised that I was older than all of them (not all of them put together I might add, and actually I think I subsequently discovered that one of the minor members (Jason or Howard, I forget which one) is a few months older than me, anyway I’m digressing). I discovered my first grey hair on December 24th 1996 (such a traumatic memory the date is forever etched on my brain). I came to realise that it was more important to get a decent bottle of wine and pay a bit more for it than get two bottles of plonk for a fiver. And I started eating olives.

More recently, in the last few years I have always made sure when I’ve gone to bed that there’s a glass of water beside me on the bedside table. That’s definitely a sign of age. Though I should add I don’t have to put my teeth in it yet.

Anyway, this morning when I woke up I reached for the glass and had a drink from it (not drinking the whole glass – this is important for later), and then dozed back off. When I eventually got up I had a bath, and then went back to the bedroom and thought I’d finish off the glass, only to find a not-small-at-all spider floating upside down in it (it was one of those with a small body and huge skinny legs, like an 8-legged wingless daddy-longlegs if you know the ones I mean). I don’t think I was awake enough when I first woke up and took a sip to know if it was in there or not. So now I’ve spent the whole day shuddering and thinking “Erk, I could have drunk a spindly spider”. That’s not a nice thought. Age hasn’t done anything about curing my arachnaphobia, sadly.

Swampea wibmeet

Today it was over to Swansea to see the lovely Alice (plus benjamin obviously). We had a lovely day – first of all to the seaside (at Caswell, where benjamin demonstrated his rather good jumping fully clothed into the sea technique), where we had lunch (b didn’t have too much of his, but he made up for that by scarfing food from both me and Alice! Especially the olives, what good taste that boy has. I didn’t get into olives till I was in my 30s). Then while b was reclining and sleeping off lunch, Alice and I had a quick walk along the cliff path at Rhossili (which I’m *sure* I’ve been to before, I’ll have to dig out my old photo albums and hope there’s not too many hideous pictures of me in leggings in amongst the mid-90s pictures where Rhossili, if I was indeed there, will be found). Then we had a quick scenic drive round Gower and a detour to take a peek at her wedding reception place, and then we went to nessa’s and Ian’s and heathcliff’s for tea, where we were joined by lemly and another friend of theirs who obligingly took photos for us. My pictures of all these various adventures will appear next week sometime when I’m back to my own computer. It was lovely to meet everyone, I really enjoyed myself.

Tomorrow I’m hopefully finishing off the marking – hooray! So normal moaning service will resume then no doubt.

Here’s a couple of Count Your Blessings to be going on with, copied from the long list further down the page:

Monday 26th March 2007
Every month more than 2,000 people are killed or maimed by landmine explosions. Most are civilians who are killed or injured long after hostilities have ended.

Give 20p every time you return to your home safely today.

Tuesday 27th March 2007
In Bangladesh, it is estimated that a million people are forced out of their homes each year by river erosion. Many can never return.

Give 20p for every insurance policy you have.

What’s this in aid of? Count Your Blessings is a daily Lent plan to help raise funds for the work of Christian Aid.

[PS My Hero: HD has just ejected a spider from the living room. It wasn’t as big as Smudgie was, but it was very scuttly, in that 8-legged way they have, so I was a bit pathetic and made him catch it and evict it. I wish spiders were cuter – I like the idea of them, and I know they’re good and eat bad bugs and whatnot, but they’re still scary.]

Of moons and spiders

Yesterday evening I headed out about 10.30 to watch a bit of the lunar eclipse. I was on the main road outside the offlicence, sharing the view with four guys in their shirtsleeves (I was wrapped up with coat, scarf, hat and would have had a hot water bottle and cup of tea if I could have!). They’re tough up here. I wished HD had been there too – he’d have kept me warm. We were joined by a couple of people from either the offlicence or the next-door takeaway who saw us all staring at something and wondered what was going on, so it ended up being quite sociable. I didn’t stay to watch the moon turn red (it was far too cold without someone to snuggle up to), but did see the total eclipse, it was stunning even above a Glasgow offlicence.

Today after church I went to Edinburgh for lunch and board/card games with friends, which was great – I even got the hang of them quite quickly which is very impressive for me (I don’t think I have the right sort of brain for strategy games, I normally just rely on the luck of the clueless). Got home about an hour ago and went to check out the bathroom for my 8-legged nemesis, and for the first time since its reign of terror began (5 whole days, readers!!!) it had moved beyond the corner crack behind the toilet where it was impossible to get to it and was instead poised on the ceiling directly above the toilet. Now, there was no way I was going to let that state of affairs continue – I wouldn’t ever dare go to the toilet again for fear of an ambush from a great height – so I ended up perched on top of the stepladder with the trusty spider-hoover-upper, hood up over my head in case Smudgie tried any sudden kamikaze moves, lots of swearing to keep my courage up, and finally managed to trap it. Mind you, even with the hoover-upper it clung on to the ceiling for ages before finally being defeated, and once I’d got down the ladder I didn’t just chuck it out of my front door like I usually do but went right out onto the street to make sure it was well and truly evicted.

Peace and tranquility (and hopefully a lot less swearing) has now been restored again to the Stately Pile. Phew and double phew.

Lent: Count Your Blessings (Day 9)

Thursday 1st March 2007
Between two and three million people have been forced to leave their homes because of the 40-year conflict in Colombia.

Give 10p for ever home or flat you have ever lived in.

What’s this in aid of? Count Your Blessings is a daily Lent plan to help raise funds for the work of Christian Aid.

[In other news: Smudgie made a whole-body appearance yesterday evening, but unfortunately was in a not-so-accessible corner and scuttled away back down into the crack when I approached. At least I now know what I’m dealing with – I think in my imagination I was starting to believe there was a spider the size of Mike Tyson’s fist in my bathroom]