I thought this was a spider but it isn’t.
It belongs in fact to a group of creatures called Opiliones and is called a Harvestman because it appears at harvest time.
Of the other names for it I most like Grandfather Greybeard.
In America it’s called Daddy Longlegs but that’s the name we give to a crane fly in the UK.
Going out to pick peaches in the dark, I was rewarded by finding a perfect spider’s web stretched across the space in the middle of the tree.
I must have dazzled the poor spider with my torch and camera flash, but it didn’t even stir. Just waited, patiently.
A spider peers up from the corner it has backed into.
Behind it is the egg sac which it takes around like a wheelbarrow in reverse.
Mother and offspring represent a great many dead flies in the future so – welcome, friends.
This spider’s stake in the future is very fragile.
Its egg sacs are hanging in its web, which could be brushed away at any moment.
This spider couldn’t seem to make up its mind.
It went up and down its thread, between the love-in-a-mist I’d picked and which was now in a vase, and the table.
Finally it settled for the flower.
The photo may well show it just detaching its thread.
It’s not the colour of a tomato and it doesn’t eat tomatoes, but it does look like the calyx of a tomato – which I’ve always called a tomato spider despite it only having five legs.
This spider would be about the right size for a cherry tomato.
There’s more than one in the room because I’ve seen two at a time, but they’re so fast as they scoot up and down the walls and windows that otherwise it could be just one super-energised specimen.
They don’t spin webs but hunt insects by stealth – or so I believe, not having as yet witnessed a kill.
They really are green – most attractive – but not very well camouflaged on our pink walls.
This is a corner of our above-ground indoor pool where I swim in the winter.
The temperature of the water, which we don’t usually heat, averages 19 degrees C. Bearable but not luxurious!
Unlike the mosaic above, it contains no fish.
It does, however, contain other life from time to time apart from me: moths, spiders (which survive an extraordinarily long time under water), earwigs, shield bugs, wood lice, centipedes …
Nothing like the range of wildlife that ends up in the outside pool, of course, and what goes in here gets fished out pretty sharpish; I run a tight ship.
Very usefully, on two occasions I’ve found a queen hornet struggling in the water, though not for long as she was quickly put out of her misery. More convenient than having to chase her up the windows and round the back of the pictures!