Country Mouse on gossamer

Most of the migrating birds have either come or gone, although sportsmen will be waiting in expectation to see the fall of woodcock during the November full moon. Indeed, such is their association with the moon, that it was once thought that they migrated there each year

But, if you look up into the sky, particularly on warm sunny days during the autumn, you will often see thin strands of gossamer, sometimes in their thousands, floating with the wind. These are tiny spiders, or spiderlings, which spin a line of silk and ‘parachute’ from their place of birth to find pastures new. The strands are called gossamer after geese, as the event traditionally took place around the time of the great goose fairs in November. The spiders can travel huge distances up to 932 miles and, for this reason, are often the first animals to inhabit newly formed volcanic islands.

Last week, I flew from Inverness to Gatwick on my return from salmon fishing. Needless to say, a large number of our party’s bags went missing. This common problem was exacerbated by the fact that a number contained frozen fish. The bags have now all turned up. You could smell them before you could see them