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Flamborough (Carol Walkington): Week 4 – 7th September

I’m not frightened of spiders, as such; it’s just that someone posted a video on Facebook of a tarantula shedding its exoskeleton and now I have to go to sleep with the light on for a while. It’s irrational, I know: British spiders are, on the whole, pretty harmless (if you’re a human, that is; not so much if you’re a butterfly), and if I find one in the bath I usually dispose of it humanely by trapping it in a plastic tub and releasing it into the wild. Though I blindfold it first and spin it around a few times to disorientate it so it can’t easily find its way back inside; I’m not daft.

Raindrops on a spider’s web

I’m not bothered by other creepy crawlies to the same extent. I find woodlice rather cute—they remind me of those early British tanks from World War One, lumbering over the carpet towards the German trenches and regularly breaking down—and daddy-long-legs just look like nature’s attempt to build a balsa wood kite by natural selection. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen too many nature documentaries; spiders don’t improve in closeup, I find. They can move like the clappers when the mood takes them, too, including, on one memorable night in my childhood, over my sleeping face. By the way, did you know that spiders taste and smell through their legs and feet? Which explains why they don’t wear slippers. They hear through their hair, too. (Hmm. I suffer from male pattern baldness, and my hearing’s getting worse. Coincidence? I think not.)

A Calm Day

In gansey news, I’ve reached the exciting milestone where I divide for front and back. It’s come quickly, but the length of this gansey is only going to be 22 inches. Now, of course, it feels as if progress is twice as fast, since you’re only knitting half the number of stitches per row. As usual, I’ll do the back first, as it puts off doing the maths for the indented neckline till later.

Looking south from North Head

And thinking it over, probably the only creature that can rival spiders in my personal hall of infamy is the shell-less terrestrial gastropod mollusc, or common slug. This is not because I’m gardener and they eat my lettuce. No, this time it’s personal. It all stems back to when we lived in a country cottage in Wales. Coming down to make breakfast one morning in my bare feet I discovered, about five seconds too late, that the kitchen floor was infested with the little perishers. You don’t really know how you feel about a mollusc until you’ve felt it ooze up, cold and slimy, between your big and second toes, a sensation not unlike treading grapes mixed with jelly. My only consolation is that they don’t have an exoskeleton to shed, or build webs, or pop up in my bath. Now there’s a thought. I guess my light’s staying on for a while longer…

7 comments to Flamborough (Carol Walkington): Week 4 – 7th September

  • Annie

    These patterns are incredibly beautifully coordinated. Tell me, what is the highest level of math one must have to do this? (Mine is differential calculus, which I never did understand.)
    For you:

    I thought I saw
    A SPIDER
    But it was just a piece of yarn.

    It’s dead
    Yarn now.

    • Gordon

      Hi Annie, I think the local spiders have started using my leftover yarn to mend their webs… Very nice!

      I rely heavily on luck and guesswork, which I find is easier than actual maths. And then, when I run into difficulties, I cheat! As you’ll see next time…

  • Dave

    Nice one Annie. What guage was the shotgun?

  • =Tamar

    I think the diamonds are far enough away from the row of hearts that it won’t matter that they are slightly offset. A very cute sweater.

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar, that’s the way they are in the original, and once it’s finished it all looks pretty joined up. (At least I hope it does..!)

  • Ah, you’ve reminded me of that time, many years ago, when I was bitten by a spider and the results were . . . not pleasant. I recall I went to a Bob Dylan concert looking as though the flesh was rotting off my hand and arm. As it was Halloween, I just told everyone I was dressed as a rotting corpse.

    • Gordon

      Hi Wendy, ouch, that sounds nasty! Though I’m disappointed to learn that being bitten by a spider doesn’t give you superpowers and the ability to swing between buildings on your own webs… Or are you keeping something from us…?

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