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deos tauri, mulieres in aranearum,in lupos hominum mutationem

A reference to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the Roman poet’s history of the world. But the quote is not from that work, not originally Latin: gods into bulls, women into spiders, men into wolves. It is from Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, harking back to Ovid’s retelling of history through stories of transformation (bad Latin translation is down to me).

cheryl_november 2015

Not sure if setting up house here was the wisest decision….

What I am most interested in is the story of woman into spider: Arachne, mortal woman, weaver changed into a spider after losing a challenge to Athena, goddess of wisdom as well as crafts.

Another spider that may well be on the losing end of a challenging situation is our Cheryl, our resident Araneus diadematus, or garden spider. We have called her Cheryl (British pronunciation with the hard ‘ch’) because it would be rude not to name as she has taken up residence in our bathroom lo these past few months. It only seems right that we be on a first name basis, given the ‘sights’ she has seen in her orb above the toilet….

You will note, though, for a garden spider she is rather noticeably not in the garden. When she first set up house we were a bit concerned and wondered if we should escort her out of the building. What would she eat? With whom would she mate? We eventually felt that nature would have to take its course, as it were. After all, it was her decision. Who were we to gainsay it?  We have helped a bit by lobbing a few dead flies onto her web, and she has managed to capture a few flying things herself. But I am afraid she is on her own when it comes to mating.  I’m just waiting for her to pack her bags so I can clean the spider poop from the window….

Female garden spiders die in late autumn protecting their egg sacs. Cheryl is exhibiting this behavior: as you can see from the photo, she is regularly retreating to the corner of the window. But does she have any eggs, and if she does how on earth or in the bathroom did she get them?

Still collecting

The bees were out and about on Friday as we had a rather warmish day. Pickings are slim around this time of year. But if you remember from some of my posts last year, the go-to source for food on warms days for all insects is the Fatsia Japonica. I didn’t get out to get a photo until today, not a very good day, and could only capture a lonely fly perusing it:

Fatsia_November 2015

Can you find the fly?

An  accounting

Of myself and my absence from the blogosphere for over a month. See, I’ve undergone a bit of a transformation myself: from home-worker to office worker, at least part time. So, I have been quite remiss in my blog reading, catching up with everyone.  It may take a bit of time….

My Latin Notebook

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