I just love walking around in Bali. Everything is special.
We arrived in the evening and had a quick look around before setting up home. The bay was inviting. Plenty of wildlife. Looks great.
Going out into the dark with a headtorch gives you a different view. There are different creatures around. It’s a different world. From spiders, crabs, bats and cicadas to bush wallabies.
It is that time of year again. The large house spiders are on the move. The big males are off hunting females to mate. They bounce across your carpet, veering and halting unpredictable.
They lurk in the recesses and under everything.
They are huge, dark and hairy. Their bristles are evil.
At night they emerge to climb walls and on to beds.
They appear in bath-tubs and showers.
They also loom even larger in my imagination!
I am an entomologist. I should know better. But childhood experiences combine with evolutionary instinct to tell me that these things are dangerous, evil and a malevolent force.
Nothing will persuade me otherwise.
We have a huge one in the house. My wife saw it scurry under the bath.
I know it’s there, somewhere.
Malevolently scurrying across the floor,
Scuttling to a standstill, assessing,
Watching with its many eyes,
Weighing up the scene.
Then darting into dark crevices
Impossible to squeeze into
To lurk and plan
Its evil re-emergence.
When darkness falls
It is there
Under the cushion
Under the pillow
Brushing the sleeping face
With its bristles
Legs and gnashing mandibles.
Delighting in its success.
Or patient wait
For this one.
He is quick
And a brain
No ordinary spider.
After poodling around on the beach and heading into the outback on dusty trails we headed up into the rainforest to catch some magnificent trees.
I have been so privileged to see so much of this incredible world. Nature is awe-inspiring.
Stop and wait
Lurk and hide and plan
Chuckle as they hesitate
Hairy legs will find their man.
In dead of night
When all is quiet
I’ll creep from out my lair
Up over the bedspread
Towards the tousled hair
Fangs eagerly dribbling juice
As I crawl across your cheek
To tease your lips with bristly feet
To just disturb your sleep
So that assiduously into your nightmares
Images of me will leak.
And I’m bad!
I’ll make you mad!
I am an arachnophobe. That makes me slightly biased when it comes to spiders. But only slightly.
Everyone knows that spiders are evil. They not only look that way but they act it too. They plan, scheme and behave vindictively with maximum malice.
Yesterday we had a huge house spider. It scurried under the bath and hid. We could not coax it out and I knew it was planning.
I wrote my poem about it.
This morning there was a loud piercing scream from the bedroom. My good lady was in there getting dressed. She’d put on her top and felt the slightest touch on her shoulder. Instinctively she flicked at the irritation and found she had knocked the enormous spider off her shoulder on to the floor.
It had surreptitiously hidden under her clothes waiting its opportunity. When she got dressed it had gleefully held on in hopes of terrorising her.
Once its cunning plan had been interrupted (It had obviously lurked in her clothing ready to suddenly scurry on to her face and scare the wits out of her) it attempted to run off behind the cupboard.
My wife deployed gravity and mass effectively. She brought down her slipper on it.
We now wait in dread for the night. We know it has family (probably older siblings and parents) and, when it is inky black and we are sound asleep, they will seek revenge.
This one was in the toilet directly above my head and was at least ten inches across from leg to leg. Fortunately it retained its grip and did not fall. Constipation was not an issue!
Being an arachnophobe (peculiar for an entomologist) Australia, like many tropical countries, is particularly daunting. These babies were all bigger than your hand and many were up to a foot across! But they sat quietly in their webs. I could cope – just!