Archive

amusing

I’ve written about Gyozo before; this is an update on her.

Considering how much I am afraid of spiders (well, size does matter in this case), we became strangely invested in the well-being of Gyozo. I took her off the Christmas tree before we took the tree out, and placed here on a rose we have in the window. For some reason she decided she preferred the wall to the green plants; so she set up shop next to the window. I’ve also fed her some aphids over the weeks, but, for some reason they died off by themselves, so I was left without a source of nourishment. And Gyozo seemed very incapable of catching anything by herself. When I saw a disoriented fly on the floor during cleaning I knew my time came to shine. Armed with a pair of tweezers I managed to hunt down the prey and carefully deposited it into Gyozo’s net. She jumped on the fly the same size as she was without hesitation; I think she was so hungry, that her normally shy behaviour (she always ran away when I touched her net no matter how delicate I was) disappeared. I guess she thought that either she is going to eat or she is going to be eaten, but she would not give a damn. (I even have a photo of her with her -well, our– prey.)

Let this whole thing sink in a bit. I’m actually hunting prey for the spider who set up shop in our living room.

Advertisements

What do you do in the following situation: you get a new job, and transfer to a place with firedoors ever 5 meters. We’re talking about double, interlocking firedoors, here; if you don’t push/pull the correct wing, you will push/pull both wings, which is annoying (and then you have to make sure they close properly).

It’d be great if they built these doors with consistency in mind: let’s say, you always use the left wing, but they did not. It’s absolutely haphazard which door needs to be pushed/pulled, and which wing locks with the other. So you can either memorize, or, as I came to a realization with a flash of genius- you can just use the dirtier doorwing…

Finally my skills as a researcher were of practical use.

Wildlife has the tendency of ignoring your personal space, and invade your little apartment without any hesitation.

This is how Gyozo (a Hungarian version of the name “Victor”) has joined our little family in November. I suspect she (as it is almost certainly a “she”) did not particularly care for the cold, and found our place more accommodating. She built her little web under the ceiling, and that was that. (She seems to be a common garden spider; not your usual in-house arthropod.)

We left her alone (my wife named her Gyozo) as she was quite small and nonthreatening. (Anyone knowing me probably knows this one fact: I’m scared of spiders.) I would not have been so laid back if it was one of those monstrous house spiders roaming the UK. Those suckers have no business being in a non-tropical place.

Anyhow, back to the original point.

In December we erected a Christmas tree, left for two weeks, and when we came home, Gyozo was gone. At least that’s what I thought. A couple of days passed by before I realized we have an extra Christmas ornament -a small garden spider hoping to catch something (anything) among the pine branches. Funny how these things go; as soon as you attach a name to something you start caring for it. I genuinely felt worry for her as I did not think she could hope to catch anything to eat. The apartment we live in is thankfully short on insects, and it felt cruel to put her out in the middle of the winter. At least this is what I thought until I discovered aphids on a houseplant we have.

And this is how I started feeding Gyozo. She is getting a regular supply of aphids; I suspect she might be getting fed up with the taste (if she is, she is free to write messages Charlotte’s web-style). I also assume she will be constructing philosophical arguments about the true nature of The Tweezers, and what it means to regularly find flightless insects in her net. (Or maybe she’s patting herself on the back for successfully taming two humans. Who knows.)

On my part I have to face the fact that I now have a pet spider.

You know how negative times negative makes positive in math? (-2*-2=+4)

Well, it works in real life too. Incompetence twice equals competence.

Enter the Saga of Our Bathroom.

The power shower finally gave up the ghost a couple of days ago. I obviously called the letting agency (Martyn Gerrard) to have it fixed ASAP, since we like to live like civilized people and take regular showers (once a day, preferably). Their response was that certainly, they will discuss the issue with the landlord as it is not an emergency -we still have a bathtub.

There are two problems with this approach. First, that it is an emergency, the immersion heater for the water cannot produce enough hot water to fill the bathtub 2 inches deep… hardly enough for a bath. The second is that the bathroom looks like a construction zone already, and it’s been like that for two months- obviously the landlord is not rushing at things.

No matter my arguments, the letting agency decided that if bathing once a year was good enough in the Middle Ages, it will be fine for London in the 21st century, in an apartment we pay over a grand a month.

So we ended up boiling water in pots and filling up the bathtub like that. Yay.

However, there was a twist in the story, and this is where the original observation comes in.

Last night a repairman showed up (without any previous arrangements; they never called), to change the immersion heater. Which is not faulty.

It turns out he should have gone to flat 23 instead of 17, but his work sheet was wrong, and also mistakenly marked our power shower as “work finished”. Which explains why they never called. Somehow, someone marked the job done. (I guess it’s a way to be efficient.)

Anyhow, since he was there, he took a look at the power shower, and fixed it temporarily. The switch is faulty, and if we turn it off it will not turn on again… and it might turn off on its own as it did when I realized it was faulty. I know it can because I was under it, in the process of taking a shower…

Astonishing. Two cases of incompetency essentially restored- albeit temporarily- our shower.

Even more astonishing the letting agency now say that

1. He fixed the immersion heater which he did not even touch

2. He fixed the power shower, so no more work is necessary and the case is closed.

They also have not responded to my emails inquiring about the mould and “cosmetic” (their words) issues of every single panel being torn off in the bathroom for over two months now.

I can’t really stay angry; it’s just hilarious. Can’t wait for the next instalment.

The last couple of days have been an emotional roller coaster for me.

First I learned that British sausages were fine when nitrate salts were concerned, but not the German-style ones. That’s somewhat of a good news- at least there are some sausages that do not contain carcinogens. Great stuff! Not all is lost!

Then today the news hit: most British sausages –especially the vegetarian ones I prefer so I can indulge without feeling bad for eating meat- have more salt in them than a McDonald’s cheeseburger with fries… which means no bowel cancer risk, sure, but instead you get the increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.

I can’t deal with this anymore; they build up your hopes and then dash them in a second…

The title of the new Samuel L Jackson movie… Keeping with the recent animal-theme, here’s a little story from today.

As we know the Tube is home to several species of animals. Some are harmless like mice and rats, and some are not so much.

This little story is about a spider. It’s nothing monumental, really, so most likely you will be disappointed at the end of it.
I was standing on the Tube, reading my ebook reader (Quo Vadis, if interested*), when I noticed a tiny spider, no bigger than a pinhead, walking about on my sleeve. It had a nice, white body with some sort of a pattern, and tiny brown legs. Since I was underground I did not brush it off; thought I’d wait until I get off.
Suddenly a woman next to me jerked away from me eyes wide, and telling me on an alarmed tone that I have a spider on my coat. From her reaction I thought it was a mutant huntsmen, but no, she spotted the tiny dude.
I smiled at her and told her I knew, but what am I to do? Don’t want to kill it, after all. Some other people joined into the conversation, but you could just see the horror in that woman’s eyes. She actually tried to move away from the vicinity of the scary beast, but the carriage was packed. I carefully transferred the spider onto my ebook reader, and closed the cover- I hoped that in the dark the spider would calm down and stop moving. I put it in my bag, and the story ended for most parties concerned. It turned out the spider did stay put in the dark; it was still in the reader when I got it out in the office. (There is a gap between the cover and the screen; it was unhurt, if you’re curious.) I transferred it to a plant, and our story finally concluded.

I shared this story because of the unlikely reaction of that poor woman. People who know me know that I hate spiders; but at this size even I can’t be bothered to be scared of it. Apparently, not everyone can.

*Only added this detail to show off my literary sophistication, obviously

I’m turning into Grizzly Adams. Normally I wear a “cultivated stubble”, but lately facial hair got out of control. I got to the stage where I need to decide if I go with the Grizzly Adams, the full beard, the lubersexual or the Bandholz.

This is not a deliberate decision on my part, or a sign of an early mid-life crisis. We just moved flats, and my wife unpacked my trimmer, and the top was missing. We spent a weekend trying to find it, but not to avail. And while I’m waiting for the replacement to arrive I feel more and more like a lost Viking than your regular civil servant.