Is Horace trying to tell me something?

There is a damp patch in the kitchen which calls out to me most days. It is singing, in a mocking tone, something like this: “I’ma gonna cost you money!” It was right of course – money and disruption.

I have had builders in, redirecting my down pipes (now don’t start, I got your number!) and creating a soak away where there used to be a neat back patio paved in Victorian bricks.

If it was disruptive for me, my problems were as nothing compared to the drama that it inflicted on Horace the spider who, regular readers will know, lives outside the bathroom window by the dustbin.

The workmen needed his space so it was goodbye elaborate web and goodbye Horace. Again, regular readers will already know that Horace persists in guarding his territory even if I inadvertently bring him into the house in my hair when I have the cheek to trespass onto his patch.

This last week, with builders, rain, shorter darker days and the first anniversary coming up of my brain haemorrhage, I think I was within my rights to feel down-hearted and so, OK, I got down-hearted.


Things change though. Today, the sun is shining, the workmen have finished, and Horace?

Well he is not by the dustbin any more.

No. Sitting up here in my study on the second floor (third floor if you are in America) of my small Georgian terraced house in the South of England, I noticed that all the rain and the builders mess had caused a genuine window cleaning necessity on my window onto the World.

I had decided that the dirty windows were a genuine disgrace, something that could earn me social pariah status in a less Bohemian part of town. I was contemplating cleaning them but, yes, it is back to Horace.

He has made it up to the top of the house and spun a new web immediately outside my window where he is sitting now quietly devouring the remains of a wasp that he caught yesterday, spun into a ball ready for the meal which he is so obviously relishing as we speak.

I can’t possibly disturb him again! Or can I?

I will wait until this week is over, I decided. This is all tied up with my crazy reaction to the anniversary of my illness. The light is identical to last year, the house is quiet, I am here alone just like I was that day when I went from everyday life into impenetrable blankness. I know I will never remember those six hours that I lay on the floor in a coma somewhere here in this house but the anniversary replication of that day is uncanny and, sad to say, Horace is welcome company until November brings in a new spirit of rebirth. I know he is but a dumb beast, but as a wolf, I empathise with fellow non-humans, and I realize that our friendship is transitory but somehow, today, sitting here with the sunlight streaming in through that filthy window, I feel as if someone is watching over me. It is probably not Horace but for the time being, he will do.

So enjoy your dessicated wasp my friend but don’t get too comfortable – next week you will be down by that dustbin again and I will have moved on.

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