The Clerk in the Country

Friday 12th November 2021

Mind the gap!

The old back door of the Lodge, opening into the kitchen, doesn’t fit exactly and there is a gap of an inch or so at the bottom which allows access to the building for a variety of small wildlife.  Last Tuesday I rescued from the kitchen sink yet another spider, which had found itself trapped by an expanse of vertical stainless steel.  Other than the colony of ladybirds in the Reading Room, spiders of every size are our most common visitor; there is at least one in the sink most weeks.

The kitchen is also a haven for harvestmen, so much less fearsome than a spider of equivalent diameter, with their little round bodies set in a framework of eight slender legs … or seven legs … or six …  Unlike other arachnids they are unable to regrow lost legs but have to totter bravely onwards with a diminishing number.  By the time they seek the shelter of the Lodge they usually have two on each side and are just about managing to get around.

Over the years there have been occasional signs of a visit from mice.  No food is ever kept in the kitchen, so the attraction must be the generous supply of nesting materials in the cupboard under the sink.

But by far the most exotic creature I’ve encountered in the Lodge was a toad, which made the kitchen its home for a couple of weeks.  It mostly “hid”, not very successfully, in a corner, but one wet day I once came across it sitting by the gap under the door, peering out at the falling rain.  The Lodge is equipped with several Health & Safety notices to protect office users but that is the only time I’ve ever had to put up a warning sign on behalf of an amphibian.