Mr Big! (Or should it be Mrs Big?)

Spider defends his territory

Spider Defends his Territory

Not long after I started knocking the plaster off the bathroom wall I was joined by my pall the spider that lives in the crevice just in the corner where the wall joins the ceiling. I thought all my banging and hammering had disturbed him and he was off to find a new place to dwell.

Not so, he seems determined to sit it out even though I’m getting closer and closer. At first I thought he was playing possum, but he frequently turns around to face in the opposite direction.

Bob the builder (yes, really) asked why I assume he’s male and I wasn’t able to answer that question. He suggested it is because he is big and ugly and I thought maybe he was right (though by spider standards he/she may be very lovely and perhaps we should start to think so). However, I also refer in the masculine to the pretty little spider that I’ve had to rescue from the bath three times this week. Now he really does have a death wish. When I spotted him yesterday I was already showering and looked down to see a black speck. Being sans specs, I thought I should investigate further, switched off the shower and leapt out to find my glasses. Shock horror – a crumpled mess of spider! Drastic action called for – tissue and a thin price tag from one of the garments I had just sent to my granddaughter.

Lay spider on toilet tissue, slight movement in two legs. Turn him over with the price tag then leave him for a bit. Apparently dead, but I can’t be doing with that. Maybe he’s just stuck to the card (it happens – I once had to free up a tree frog that was stuck by his back to a door casing. In a heavy rainstorm he had squeezed through the small gap between the top of the door and when the sun came out, his back had dried onto the casing, so that when I opened the door he was suspended. I had to get a paintbrush and gently paint him with water until I loosened him).

Back to the spider – gently turn him over on the tissue, only then from the tiny tangle of body and legs, could I make out which way up he was meant to be. Then, after a few minutes, transfer him to the windowsill and slowly and surely he began to find his feet and off he went – hopefully a bit wiser!

But what to do with Mister Big? Not a clue, I’ll just have to continue with my work until he makes his move!


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Born in Liverpool at the end of WW2, but raised in Skelmersdale. I first studied art in Southport from 1960-63 and worked in graphic design till I married. In December 1969 I moved to Zambia with my husband and two young children. There I taught art in the local girls school, illustrated for the National Correspondence College and did all sorts of other artwork, paid and unpaid. In 1978 I divorced and remarried in the summer of 1980. In 1985 I became ill and the following year cancer was diagnosed. There was no treatment available in Zambia and so I had to go to the UK. After recovering from a radium needle implant I went back to Zambia, but 18 months later the cancer recurred and it was off to the UK again for radical surgery. This time I realised I must stay in the UK where treatment was available, so I never returned to Zambia nor my husband. A few months later I applied for a degree course, but two years later the disease metastasised and I spent most of my final year in and out of hospital. It’s been a long hard road, but I’m still plodding on and it is now 24 years since my last cancer treatment. Because of my experience of cancer and surviving against the odds, I try and help others cope with their devastating diagnosis and prognosis.

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