Thistledown Houses

One morning in Suffolk, before this summer’s drought set in, I woke up to a garden strewn with raindrop-spangled silk.

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Some of the spiders’ webs were as round as dandelion clocks. Others dipped like  hammocks. Domed or dipped, every web was a densely-woven porch overhanging a dark, round doorway.

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I poked gently at one cobweb, with a grass-stalk. If you do that to an orb web, the spider often comes running out to see if her breakfast has arrived. But no hungry beast emerged from this labyrinth. Perhaps she’d fed already, or was sleeping, or she recognised the heavy touch of a human.

Eventually of course, out came the sun and dried up all the rain, and all the thistledown houses disappeared again.

My favourite book character spider is the Hairy Godmother in Spinderella, by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Sebastien Braun. What’s yours?

Don’t forget you could win a copy of the ‘My Little Star’ boardbook, if you can find the spiders drawn by Rosalind Beardshaw in two of my picture books.  See my Spider Hunt Giveaway blogpost.