Bomb the spiders

Spiders and nuclear bomb factories. Are they connected? Imagine Usain Bolt grew four more limbs and decided to use them all. That’s what we’re dealing with here.

Advertisements

Spider OzAs a teenager lots of things are scary. Boys, bodies, broccoli. But leafing through my old Smash Hits yearbook, under the question “Name your fears”, I have written: Spiders and nuclear war.

I think that about sums up my teenage years.

We lived in a semi-rural village, very close to an Atomic Weapons factory, which brought ‘When the Wind Blows’ by Raymond Briggs (1982 book, 1985 film) very close to home. The TV images of the Women’s Peace Camp at Greenham Common, just down the road, is imprinted on my memory, including the famous 70,000 women who joined hands to form a 14 mile human chain from Greenham to our neighbouring village Aldermaston.

So that explains nuclear war.

The village, which I returned to live in at the start of this year, is also surrounded by woods which, as I now recall, is home to grizzly bear spiders. Spiders which haunted my childhood, slept in sheds, entered bedrooms, colonised bathrooms. We rather quaintly call them garden spiders.

But they don’t know this. They don’t know their place. They let themselves in and sit on the arm of your chair. They change the TV channel. They are huge. They are fast. Once, my father-in-law thought he saw a toy car race across the living room floor. It was a spider.

Imagine Usain Bolt grew four more limbs and decided to use them all. That’s what we’re dealing with here.

The spider in the photo above is clearly a huntsman, one of the few that stalked me in Australia. I probably saw less than ten big spiders in Australia, and the only deadly ones I saw were behind perspex. I don’t even associate Australia with spiders. Crocodiles, sunshine, freshly-caught fish, friends, the ocean, cockroaches, yes, but spiders? No.

I would have taken a photo of a garden spider, but they’re too fast. Too sneaky. Too aware.

web

The other morning, as the first autumn fog descended, every hedge and bush on our way to school was covered in frosted webs. Like when a light shines through a window revealing that there is dust everywhere.

I’m thinking of getting together a group of 70,000 women to form a human chain around the village to keep these bastards out.

And as we battle our daily influx of garden spiders, I am beginning to wonder if my two primal fears are in some way connected. Is proximity to potential radioactivity creating monster, sprinter spiders? And what is it doing to my children?

Fears remain the same however old we get. I eat broccoli. But do I fully trust it? No.

Loneliness is not a long-distance runner

“Loneliness is not a broken heart. It’s a penguin in a tutu.” I don’t know why Shane Finn was in prison, but it doesn’t matter does it? I just loved what he wrote.

Mummy bloggers talk about lots of things, you name it, health, poo, fashion, life, snot, upheavals, relationships, toys, cars, school, politics, love. But prisons? Not so much, not the literal ones anyway. Which is a shame.

I’ve always been strangely drawn to prisons, or rather the idea of being locked in a cell. During adolescence I used to fantasise about living out my days in our downstairs loo. It had everything I needed (well, a loo), and I would add a little duvet, a hatch for receiving food, a video recorder (hopefully not Betamax) and a some bookshelves. What could be nicer? No parents to deal with, no exams to sit, no job to get, no boys to make you feel just awful and sad.

Obviously,  the idea is now abhorrent (apart from those days when I want to lock myself in a cupboard), and yet when I visited Fremantle Prison near Perth in Australia in 2010, I felt a warm fuzzy glow. I can’t explain it, I can’t understand it, but I was drawn to the place. We were traveling with an eight month old BUB.1 at the time so didn’t think it wise to actually to take a tour of the cells (oh how I wished we could) but after a visit to the gift shop I was aglow. So aglow, in fact, I returned to the shop and bought a book,  a compendium of “creative works from Fremantle prison” entitled Prose and Cons.

On flicking through this narrow volume my eyes had randomly snatched the opening line of a poem entitled State of the Heart:

Loneliness is not

a long-distance runner

it’s a cooling breeze

on a hot day in summer

it’s not knowing your place

when watching a plane crash

swan diving with beautiful grace

loneliness is not a broken heart

it’s a penguin in a tutu

everyday state of the art

The reason this took my breath away was because as a teenager, as well as fantasising about living in the privy, I also started to have recurring dreams about plane crashes. More specifically I would witness a plane crashing in the distance, as I stood helpless and solitary in the distance. I had that dream for years. And here I was, in Fremantle on the west coast of Australia, twenty five years later, reading Shane Finn’s poem about that very same feeling.

I don’t know why Shane Finn was in prison, but it doesn’t matter does it? I just loved what he wrote.

State of the Heart

“Loneliness is not a broken heart. It’s a penguin in a tutu.” I don’t know why Shane Finn was in prison, but it doesn’t matter does it? I just loved what he wrote.

Mummy bloggers talk about lots of things, you name it, health, poo, fashion, life, snot, upheavals, relationships, toys, cars, school, politics, love. But prisons? Not so much, not the literal ones anyway. Which is a shame.

I’ve always been strangely drawn to prisons, or rather the idea of being locked in a cell. During adolescence I used to fantasise about living out my days in our downstairs loo. It had everything I needed (well, a loo), and I would add a little duvet, a hatch for receiving food, a video recorder (hopefully not Betamax) and a some bookshelves. What could be nicer? No parents to deal with, no exams to sit, no job to get, no boys to make you feel just awful and sad.

Obviously,  the idea is now abhorrent (apart from those days when I want to lock myself in a cupboard), and yet when I visited Fremantle Prison near Perth in Australia in 2010, I felt a warm fuzzy glow. I can’t explain it, I can’t understand it, but I was drawn to the place. We were traveling with an eight month old BUB.1 at the time so didn’t think it wise to actually to take a tour of the cells (oh how I wished we could) but after a visit to the gift shop I was aglow. So aglow, in fact, I returned to the shop and bought a book,  a compendium of “creative works from Fremantle prison” entitled Prose and Cons.

On flicking through this narrow volume my eyes had randomly snatched the opening line of a poem entitled State of the Heart:

Loneliness is not

a long-distance runner

it’s a cooling breeze

on a hot day in summer

it’s not knowing your place

when watching a plane crash

swan diving with beautiful grace

loneliness is not a broken heart

it’s a penguin in a tutu

everyday state of the art

The reason this took my breath away was because as a teenager, as well as fantasising about living in the privy, I also started to have recurring dreams about plane crashes. More specifically I would witness a plane crashing in the distance, as I stood helpless and solitary in the distance. I had that dream for years. And here I was, in Fremantle on the west coast of Australia, twenty five years later, reading Shane Finn’s poem about that very same feeling.

I don’t know why Shane Finn was in prison, but it doesn’t matter does it? I just loved what he wrote.