“THE wind seems to be getting up,” chirped my wife, as I slumped like a split pumpkin in the chair opposite – pondering whether the chef in the Indian restaurant had been wise to serve me with a dish of creamed lentil soup to soothe my mouth, which had begun sizzling with the ferocity of all the hobs in Hell, when I was vanquishing a big helping of Madras curry.
Indeed, the hook of ambiguity almost certainly hid in her observation. But at that moment, the outer wind gusted across the lawn, pitching a pile of leaves against the lounge window.
“I’ll just check the back to make sure that nothing can be blown over,” I said eager to escape the cosy confines of the house. Once in the garden, however, I was profoundly moved by the sight of a daddy longlegs flying feebly and yet nobly into the teeth of the raging gale.
“What spirit, an example to us all,” I whispered. “Perhaps he is carrying a box of chocolates to the pillow of his lover. I hope his mission is not doomed.”
Now, at this ripe stage in my life, I do not want to pick a quarrel with God. All the advantages are on His side.
Quite apart from that, I am not in a position to lecture anyone on the finer points of design-technology, having only twice succeeded in stringing a conker without inflicting grievous wounds either on myself or on the person next to me. Even so, the question remains.
Was God having an off day when He arranged the bits on the daddy longlegs? For example how would the lips of the doting swain meet those of his cutie if she had her knees up – furthermore how is the poor chap to be aroused by mummy longlegs? Yes, she has six legs and each one is long, as her name implies.
But not one of them curves with thrilling possibilities beyond the stocking top, as it stretches to a body, on which filmy lingerie would have to be particularly alluring to quicken the darts of even the most ardent Cupid.
And yet I stared with mounting admiration at this wisp of creation who flew against all the odds, finally reaching the tool shed, where he paused for breath, before shrinking his gangly form into a tiny hole in the closed door. Did his sweetheart wait on the other side to shelter him from the storm?
The wind slowly subsided and I returned to the house to tell my wife about the brave daddy longlegs. A strange mockery then glowed in the lovely turquoise of her eyes, as I gave a romantic account of the daddy longlegs’ devotion to his gal.
“Of course,” she said, when I had finished. “Those of us familiar with entomology know that the daddy longlegs belongs to the family tipulidae and he does have peculiar courting rituals, though I always think that such matters are comparative, having spent the early years of marriage in your natural habitat, the pub bar. Yet the daddy longlegs might have much to teach us humans. For when he has done his business with mummy long legs, if you follow my drift, no vulgar words in this house, the chap often collapses and then dies from natural causes.”
“What no inquest!” I interjected. “You find the poor fellow lying dead in his lady’s bed and no-one is suspicious? No Hercule Poirot on the scene to investigate? By Jove, that seems like the thin end of the wedge.”
“That‘s as good as it gets for the girls,” my wife said “From then on it’s down hill. She lays her larvae and after that she is likely to be eaten by spiders or passing insects, the cruel brats!”
“Actually that confirms my opinion that God had an off day when He made daddy and mummy longlegs,” I said.
“But we all have off days,” added my wife, looking out of the window. “Anyway, the wind seems to be easing at last. But I should have warned you, lentil soup must never be part of a daddy longlegs’ courting ritual.”
LISTEN to David Charters on his picture podcasts at www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk