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THE WHITE SPIDER Photo: White spider on Foxglove on Ballymoney Road, Gorey, Co Wexford.

Updated: Oct 23, 2020


When the weather looks inclement, I get up ,look out and having breakfasted and done the morning chores I put on my old walking boots, a light raincoat and cap and head out. I have no pre-determined walking route in mind and am open to all suggestions.

Last week, having arrived at base, I met an old friend of mine and having determined that we were both ok health-wise, we exchanged salutations and sauntered along the broad walk path into the forest.We had to endure the caw cawing of the garrulous crows overhead. As we walked along the noise of the crows was replaced by the relaxing sound of the adjacent river.

Now that we we were on a steady pace I asked my walking partner if he had any route in mind and very nonchalantly he said he was going in search of the white spider and a rare white butterfly with black spots,and I said, Why Not ? and off we toddled on our 2 man spider mission.

As we strolled along, I had to identify a St. Johnsworth flower using my newly acquired plant recognition app. My walking partner was really impressed by my ingenuity and skill. We casually snapped a few more weeds and wildflowers but three quarters of an hour into our journey and there was no sight of the elusive white spider. I thought I was being taken for a bit of a jaunt, but I also knew that Ross could spend up to 5 hour waiting for the right glint of sunshine on a fern leaf before he snapped it.

We crossed the spike bridge and headed for the long lane, I could feel some tension in the air and the walking pace was slowed down considerably.

Were there aliens about ?

Had we tripped on some lost planet in the woods ?

No, we were in perfect habitat for our spidery mission . I was hushed into silence and had to tip toe forward and I could see Ross with lens pointed and there I saw it. The little lovely elusive Mr White Spiderman.

We focussed and zoomed and clicked and re-clicked and our newfound friend just sat there and stared at two humans all excited over a spider sitting on a lovely purple foxglove on an average overcast summer day.

We knew though that we had mission accomplished , we had snapped the white spider.

I was quite excited by the adventure and was ready to amble home for lunch when Ross discovered that rare butterfly which neither of us had ever seen before and he had to be clicked and appropriately snapped and commented on.

Finally, we were able to start the walk home with apertures safely put into lockdown mode unless some other rare species appeared.

Nothing more exciting than a Friesian calf whimsically looked at us on our return journey.

Ross is a second cousin once removed of Bob Geldof and we had a great conversation about the Geldof family’s history in Dublin in fashion and journalism.

Ross himself is a very creative person taking excellent photos of the flora and fauna of Courtown woods. He regularly posts these on Facebook. These photos are worthy of being mounted and exhibited.

He also collects pieces of glass ,of varying hues, on the beach.These are beautifully shaped by the constant wearing by the sand. Ross makes very attractive jewellery pieces for friends from these.

It was great two and a half hours of a spidery journey through the woods .

Postscript ; In the afternoon one of the grandchildren came to our house for his first visit in 3 months and I showed him the picture of the white spider. He was so excited by it he wanted to immediately go on a slug hunt around our garden looking for spiders, ants ,bees, wasp slugs , snails etc and we had to photograph every flower in our garden and any insect we could find .

I think that was the busiest child-minding stint we have ever done and all because of one rare white spider.


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