Incy Wincy venomous Spider ….

Although all spiders are venomous there aren’t that many that are potentially harmful to humans and in my part of the world there are only three or four: the brown button and black button spider, the (‘dreaded’) violin spider – In the South African National Collection of Arachnida, which houses more than 140 000 spider specimens collected over a 40-year period, only 120 specimens (0.08% of the collection are violin spiders. Of these 120 specimens, only 11 were collected inside buildings.) – and this one:

The long- legged sac spider Cheiracanthium sp. Family Eutichuridae.

This is what Astri Leroy has to say about this spider  in the booklet Venomous Spiders in South Africa

Long-legged Sac Spiders are medium-sized, ( body length approx. 10 mm) common and widespread and found in most habitats. They are nocturnal hunters and rest by day in temporary sac-like silken retreats in vegetation. They often come indoors and will make their retreats in folds of fabric and other hiding places. Their fang base are black, the fangs large for their size and because they often come into close contact with people they account for about 75% of known spider bites in South Africa. Their venom is cytotoxic (cell destroying) and bites cause small necrotic wounds which take several weeks to heal completely. Treatment is symptomatic and medical attention does not need to be sought. The bite site should just be kept dry and clean and it will heal on its own.

And here is what one looks like. This is a female. Photographed hiding among the petals of a rose in the garden last week.


Grey Spider 6

LOng Legged Sac Spider

Grey Spider 5

Grey Spider8

Oh, for gods’ sake! Jesus H. It’s that man again …

When you add up all of the following facts, the case for the existence of Jesus as an historical person becomes rather remote: 1) there are no proven, legitimate references to the existence of Jesus in any contemporary source outside of the New Testament (which is really not a contemporary source, as it was written from 30 to 70 years after Jesus supposedly died), 2) There is no evidence that the town of Nazareth, from which Jesus’ mother supposedly came, ever existed at the time he was supposedly living there, 3) the existence of Jesus is not necessary to explain the origin or growth of Christianity (were the Hindu gods real’?), 4) the New Testament accounts do not provide a real “biography” for Jesus until you look at the Gospels. The earlier Pauline epistles imply only that he was a god, and 5) the biblical accounts of the trial and death of Jesus are logically self-contradictory and legally impossible. Jesus could not have been executed under either Roman or Jewish law for what he did. Whatever you call what he did, it was not a capital offense under either system. Rather, it looks like someone is trying to make Old Testament prophecies of the death of the Messiah come true by fabricating a scenario which simply doesn’t make sense legally.

– The Jesus of History: A Reply to Josh McDowell
Gordon Stein, Ph.D.

Stamp Collecting? Well …


In the heady world of philately I, and many others, are considered somewhat of an anomaly by those who spend their Sundays licking tiny pre-folded hinges then affixing them onto the backs of stamps, afterwards to lovingly mount in special albums.

You see, I am a non-stamp collector and I resent in the strongest of terms being lumped together with all those idiotic hinge-lickers merely because they have serious issues regarding little perforations and fancy coloured watermarks.

While it could be argued that there are a  great many lickers and mounters such as myself, and the percentage is rising all the time, we do not have regular organised meetings, a handbook of specialised licking and mounting techniques and no ‘leaders’  to whom we are obliged to look toward for guidance and inspiration.

Though I admit, there are small groups that do get together and discuss certain aspects of non- philately.

Furthermore, we do not force our non-philately onto children, rather allowing them to grow up in a loving, safe environment free of any insidious threats of punishment for not reading the Stanley Gibbons catalog religiously

Only when they are old enough to make qualified, rational decisions based on critical thought do we suggest they investigate the world of philately. Of course the level or maturity varies but in general we are fairly open about stamp collecting by the time they reach puberty. Although if the child is really curious about Penny Blacks we will explain to them gently, honestly and openly.

In most cases, left to their own devices, most young people, after a childhood completely free of , First Day Covers and Celebratory collections featuring heroes of tonsorial works of art such as Bob Geldoff, Johnny Rotten and Yul Bryner, tend to eschew philately altogether, regarding it with the same air of disdain and indifference as one might the brand of cigar smoked by former US President Bill Clinton.

So, please, let this be the final time I have to explain this to ardent philatelists:

I am a non-stamp collector, and I have no idea who Phil Atelist is, but I do not worship him.

Are we clear?

Thank you.

The Ark.

Leading you up the garden path. Life on the gazania.

I have been following the antics of a yellow crab spider this past week who took up residence among a trio of yellow ganzanias.

When I first noticed spidey it had a hover fly in its jaws, a butterfly stored in the gazania to its right and a bee suspended from a thread on the flower to its left.

The following day the hover-fly had disappeared and so too the butterfly. But the spider had caught an ordinary fly and  the bee still swung gently in the breeze underneath the flower. On the next visit, the bee had gone too. and Spidey was back in camouflage mode  in the centre gazania waiting for its next meal to haplessly stumble by.

And yesterday, one did. Another bee.

Any time one of these insect predators makes a kill it is soon joined by an entourage of hangers-on, and in these cases the ”groupies” are usually the aptly named Jackal fly, which crawls over victim and predator alike in search for titbits.

As no actual flesh ripping takes place – a spider’s modus operandi being somewhat different to its mammalian counterpart – I have no idea how/what the Jackal fly feeds/takes.

I sat on the path adjoining the flowerbed and watched and photographed  for about fifteen to twenty  minutes, fascinated as this little drama played out

The spider seemed to be getting fed up with the Jackal flies as they appeared to be interfering with its attempt to drag the bee down into the flower, and it kept lifting one leg or another to obtain a better purchase on the bee and or dislodge a fly. Eventually the spider had had enough and it relinquished its hold on the bee  which slid off the gazania petal and fell to the floor .

But the spider had been done out of lunch and  a scavenger should not push its luck when trying to cash in on a Free Meal –  as this series of photographs eventually show.







Welcome to  my world, said the spider to the fly!

The Natural Order of Things – For Carmen

Yes, it’s an old one


Down at the Coach and Horses, Wiggleswood’s Premier imbibing establishment, things are not in order at all; naturally!

 “It’s the natural order of things, Alf. Women on top,” said Bert.

“S’what I told the missus,” Alf agreed. “I told her you said so, too.”

“So what’s the problem, then? Why so glum?” asked Bert.

Alf was sporting a bandage around his forehead and a nasty looking blue eye.

“The missus didn’t agree, she said it were the man who’s supposed to be on top.”

“But didn’t you tell her that if she was on top she’d be in control?”

“Yeah. I told her,” said Alf.

“And you mentioned it would mean you would have your hands free . . . for other stuff,” Bert said, winking.

“Oh, I told her, all right,” said Alf.

“And she didn’t seem even the least bit interested? Not for a moment?”

“Nope. Not at all,” Alf said shaking his head. “But she ended up on top though. I made her.”

“Ooh, made her. That could have been handled more diplomatically,” said Bert sounding concerned.

“Well, it’s a bit bloody late now, isn’t it? I mean, look at me!” Alf moaned.

“Yes, I was wondering what happened, but didn’t feel it my place to enquire after matters conjugal,” said Bert.

“Conjugal? What the hell’s that when it’s at ‘ome?” said Alf, looking perplexed. “This happened while the missus was on top of the ladder washing the windows. I pointed out a spot she’d missed. She bloody swore at me and while she was stretching she dropped the flaming bucket right on my bloody head! Next time I’ll clean the perishin’ windows me self and I’ll thank you, Bert to keep your expert opinions to yourself. And it’s your bloody round!”

Copyright ©The Ark


Leading you up the garden path: Incy Wincy revisited.

I popped up the garden path this afternoon to see how the little crab spider was doing and it was All Change at The Gazanias..

Oh, spidey was still there.

spider 65

So was the bee, suspended from its silk thread.

suspended bee 2

But the butterfly was nowhere to be seen and neither was the hover fly from yesterday.

Instead … Spidey had topped up his larder with a  fly. Little greedy guts that he is.

spider 65 2

Ark©Copyright 2015


Leading you up the garden path: You can’t see me!

Three ordinary yellow gazanias. But not everything is quite as it seems at first glance …

Take the one on the left. There is a very deceased butterfly if you look closely.

Spider's gazanias

Now look at the gazania on the right.  Let’s peek underneath.

bee on gazania

A bee; and unfortunately she has fallen victim to something as well.

Bee suspended 2

If you enlarge the shot and look at the top of the bee you will see a tiny thread. The bee is actually suspended from a thread. A spider’s thread.

Ah! So that means ….

Yellow Crab Spider and fly

Right! In the middle gazania we find the culprit for all this death and destruction. Perfectly camouflaged, the most patient of predators. This yellow Crab Spider.

Not content with the bee and the butterfly it has a hover fly in a death grip.

Copyright©dsp 2015


Sheesh!Only the English

The wife asked me to plant a few garlic so not being green fingered at all I hopped onto The Facetube and clicked a couple of videos. Some were for pots others straight dans le jardin. I randomly clicked on this one and sat transfixed as one of my fellow countryman (avec Yorshire accent) gardened as it began to snow; which I thought was  funny. But not half as funny as his unintentional blooper right at the beginning where he is discussing climate.

Listen carefully!

I will say nothing more except: don’t these people know about editing! lol.

Have a laugh


Leading you up the garden path: Watch the birdy

Ever since I made the decision to photo catalogue the flora and fauna at our spot the  birds have, by and large, been the most difficult to capture. Not least because without a decent telephoto lens at best any shot is going to be lucky.

So here is a selection of a fair number of the birds that I have managed to photograph. The photos enlarge pretty good so click away.

We have other species visit, including the Indian Minah, but for some reason, these have been rather more difficult to snap.

In time …

For those that are interested: The camera is a Canon EOS 400D with an 18-55mm zoom.

Spotted Eagle Owl

owl 9 120

White Breasted Sunbird

Sunbird 2

Rameron Pigeon

20a Rameron Pigeon 2

Grey Heron

heron 20th 3e

Wood Hoopoe


Speckled Mousebird

Mousebird in rose

Masked  Weaver (Female)

8 f frmaleweaver

Pied Flycatcher( male)

E5 Fiscal Flycatcher 2

Red Faced Mousebird

red faced mouse birds

Cape White Eye

white eye 2

Hadeda Ibis

15e Hadeda

Masked Weaver(male)

8 untitled15

Double Collared Sunbird

13b double collarded sun bird

Grey Lourie


Egyptian Goose

26 Egyptian Goose 3

Laughing Dove


Pied Crow

12a pied cow

Crested Barbet


Female House Sparrow

female house sparrow 1

Turtle Dove

cape turtle dove

Feral Pigeon

18a Feral Pigeon 2

Rock Pigeon

rock pigeon2

Black Sunbird

black sunbird 4

Cardinal Woodpecker (female)

woodpecker 2

Glossy Starling

10d Glossy Starling on Rose

Pied Flycatcher(female)

pied flycatcher female 2

Olive Thrush

17 Olive Thrush

Cape Robin


For all you old hippies. The Byrds – 8 miles high. Far out man.

Bella. In the garden


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