“INCY wincy spider, climbing down the spout” is not a true description of the huge bloated arachnid I have been closely observing for the last few days.

Mr, or in all likelihood, Mrs Spider, has spun a vastly intricate web across the sitting room window of our cottage in Scotland. It is spun on the outside and thus has been subject to the gale force winds and driving rain we have endured for the last week.

The rain has had its benefits. It has swelled the river John has been fishing for the last week and brought the salmon and sea trout up into the loch. Thence to the stream where they were born. If that is they can bypass the tempting flies attached to hooks and fishing lines dangling in the water. To be truthful every fish is now required on this river and loch to be returned to the water and so, although it might not be too pleasant to be hauled out of the river with a hook through your mouth, at least the fish gets away and can continue on to spawn.

But back to my new nosy neighbour, who seems to spend long periods of time peering through the window while dangling on a silken thread. I am just happy that this vicious hunter is on the outside of the window pane. Probably if he/ she had spun their trap on the inside, our conscientious cleaner would have whisked the web away.

This leggy killer seems to enjoy quite a varied diet of flies, mosquitoes and tiny winged insects whose names I do not have a clue about. I have only intervened once when a butterfly was trapped in the silken web. Especially as it was a Painted Lady, which must have made an enormous journey to get here. But this one was the one that got away. I could almost hear our spider grinding it’s teeth ( do spiders have teeth?) in rage. I am all heart however and when I found a dead fly in our bedroom window, I took the tasty (to a spider I hope) morsel outside and threw it into the middle of the sticky web.Within a minute my carnivorous pet, well almost a pet, had scuttled along its web to check out tomorrow’s lunch.

John of course finds all this fascination with the spider’s wellbeing rather strange. It is in fact interspersed with observing how clever the local sheep are at regulating traffic speed on the road outside. If you choose to feed your lambs in the middle of the road, traffic just grinds to a halt to wait for you to finish. If you decide to go for a stroll with a whole flock of your mates, you can create a traffic queue worthy of the evening news.