First thing this morning I watched savage nature in action. The early sun glinted on a side-lit spider’s web, displaying the splendid shape of this wonderfully crafted construction. A child’s chalk drawing of an airplane streaked across the clear sky above. A bright blue fly darted straight into the unwound skein. In a fraction of a second, a spider emerged from a corner and was on the fly. Quick as a flash, I was upstairs in search of my camera. Quick as I was, on my return the spider had already wrapped up its prey which now looked like a ball of grey wool almost as large as itself. My attempt at securing a photograph was rushed, and consequently out of focus. During the brief moment it had taken me to ascertain this, arachnid and prey had disappeared. I could not locate them in the foliage. After a great deal of persistence I spied the predator so well camouflaged against a dying leaf as to be well-nigh invisible.
I found another golf ball on the lawn. This set me wondering whether to emulate Winchester City Mill. They have a web-cam carrying out an otter watch. Otters can then be filmed whenever they investigate the millstream. If we set up a web-cam we could satisfy ourselves as to the identity of the phantom supplier (see 8th. September post).
After lunch the three of us visited Arturi’s garden centre to buy some ferns for a new bed Jackie has created. She and I drove Elizabeth back to The Firs and shopped at Hillier’s for snowdrops, narcissi, and grape hyacinth bulbs; pansies; and all-purpose compost. I then finished mowing the lawns I had begun this morning, and Jackie planted up her fernery. This fills a very shady corner bearing compacted soil covering massed tree roots. Our head gardener has created a decorative container for shade-loving plants by encircling a nutritious mix with the sawn up sections of the acacia which fell down during the May storms (see 26th. May). The mix consists of a layer of pond weed extracted a year ago which has produced wonderful compost; then seaweed enhanced plant growth stimulant; next a layer of bracken, and finally multi-purpose, composts. The centrepiece is a garden ornament known by us as ‘The Three Graces’, which had previously stood at the edge of the front lawn.