Tuesday, 5 December 2017
I haven't lit the lamp since my last post, three weeks ago, because that night the fuses went in the house and because it had rained, I assumed that this was caused by the moth trap.
Last night, however, we had a young cousin to stay and the weather turned mild - thank goodness, because you feel the bitter cold at my age - so I thought: well, let's see if it works. And it did.
So I think that electrically I had put two and two together and made five, which is what I did pretty consistently as a schoolboy in all the many maths and science exams which I always failed. (My excuse is that none of the relevant teachers had a spark which might have ignited my mind, but I accept that there was probably fault on both sides).
Anyway, there was nothing in the trap this morning when we examined the eggboxes while my cousin gulped down her disgustingly healthy breakfast of gravelly muesli. But look! Entangled in one of the many spiders' webs which I carefully protect from too much cleaning on the outside of our windows, was the Mottled Umber shown at the top of this post.
My cousin is a natural feminist I am glad to say, so I sorrowfully showed her the dismal lot of the female Mottled Umber, the flightless bug on the right in Richard Lewington's beautiful illustrations from the Moth Bible, above. These poor creatures hatch, climb up tree trunks, emit pheromones, accept the consequences, lay their eggs and die. Veritably, the stuff of a Margaret Atwood dystopia.
As you can see below, the spiders have been busy elsewhere on the window. They are doing better than my mercury vapour lamp.