Full sail

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Whenever I see a cob flaring his wings like this I stand ready with the camera, in case he’s about to go into meltdown; they tend to be more reactive during the breeding season, but they can lose their tempers at pretty much any time of year. This one was looking around for someone to be offended by, but no-one was obligingly getting in his way, so he contented himself with swimming round and round his patch of river in a Vaguely Threatening Fashion. You can tell there’s no danger of him going critical imminently because he’s carrying his head fairly well forward: when they’re in a really filthy mood they lay the neck back along the body, and bring the wings further forward, so that the head almost disappears between them.

You’ll have guessed from this that R and I were in Stratford again this afternoon, taking our exercise along the river, and sitting in the park to drink a cup of coffee. We feel that we need to take every opportunity to do this, before the winter sets in properly – although we could always buy heated bodywarmers, I suppose, and continue to have our mini-picnics outside through the cold months.

When we got home we cleaned my study window, a very tall box sash that sits above the porch. When I say “we”, I should confess that my principal involvement was playing the part of theatre nurse, reaching through a small opening at the bottom of the window and slapping appropriate implements into R’s outstretched hand, as he balanced on the mossy tiles of the porch roof doing the actual cleaning. When he’d finished and threaded himself back through the window to safety, I was so excited to discover that everything outside the glass is not, in fact, a uniform 30% grey, that I went mad and cleaned the inside as well. And then damp-dusted my desk and cleaned my computer screen.

While washing the window frame, R discovered a spider nest in the bottom of the track down which the upper window slides. Back in the day he’d have called for a vacuum cleaner at this point, but – bless him – today he asked if I had a macro handy, and once I’d photographed the nest he carefully cleaned around it. I’m quite excited to discover that our large lodger is a noble false widow, Steatoda nobilis, which I’ve never recorded before, but given that they do bite from time to time, I’d prefer her to continue living outside with her several dozen children, rather than moving into the house.