Tiny Spider

My reaction to spiders has changed since living in Australia. I am still uncomfortable when I first notice a spider but after a moment the rush of fear subsides. After Australian spiders, justifying a fear of spiders in France is impossible.

It is difficult to really fear insects in Europe once you have lived in Australia. That is not to be macho or suggest bravado. I can claim neither. Instead living in a country where a real fear of spiders is justified provides perspective on those times when the fear is utterly pointless.

I remember the first spider I saw crawling on the wall in my Sydney apartment. That moment of not being sure quite how nasty that tiny creature might be. Tracking the tiny black creature moving disturbingly quickly along the wall.

Since that first Australian spider I encountered all manner of nasty insects. They exist but despite the perception that Australia is full of lethal animals, you rarely come across them in your daily routine. Locals do however take more care than tourists and immigrants. This extra care can go unnoticed and that can lull you into a false sense of safety. That care is also not explicit but instead just a childhood habit instilled by parents and teachers over many years.

Australian kids are taught to never never prod and poke around under fallen branches and rocks. Adults are careful when gardening and working around the borders. Venturing into the bush requires good shoes and covered legs. Fridges are home to magnetic leaflets with silhouettes of spiders identifying those with nasty bites.

Explaining the joys of a childhood nature trail to an Australian results in tears of laughter and shock. You were encouraged to lift up rocks and seek out hidden creatures? Crazy.

With that comparison in mind, I took the chance to film a tiny spider in our bathroom. Harmless, beautiful, and now safely outside.

The Spikiest Tree – Gleditsia Caspica

There is a tree in parc de la tête d’or that is seriously spiky. The Gleditsia Caspica; a tree from the mountainous Caucasus region in Iran.

Without leaves the spikes are exposed and they look mean. In a month or two the leaves will return as summer approaches and the spikes will all but disappear from sight.

A spiky tree in Lyon's parc de la tête d'or
A spiky tree in Lyon’s parc de la tête d’or
Gleditsia caspica, also known as the Caspian locust
Gleditsia caspica, also known as the Caspian locust

Sudden Hailstorm

After a couple of days with brilliant blue sky, today has been overcast and wet. A hailstorm rolled in this afternoon.

I stood watching the hail falling for a few moments before realising I could probably create a short film from the event. I rushed to my camera, captured some footage, then rushed again for my microphone. Better sound makes all the difference.

The hailstorm was uneventful but it was fun filming and putting together this film. All done within an hour – including the YouTube administration.

Hailstone on the windowsill
Hailstone on the windowsill