BBC Wildlife Magazine

WILD wisdom

A couple of years ago, when my younger son was seven, his school project for the term was ‘home’. The class learned about bungalows, flats, terraces and semidetached properties, and the children also thought about what ‘home’ meant to them, and what it might be like not to have one.

So, when he and I walked across the field to school one winter morning and saw that the low sun had illuminated dewdrops on thousands of spider webs on the grass and along the playground railings, I shot excitedly into the classroom and accosted his teacher.

“There are spider webs, sparkling with dew – they’re beautiful! Can we take the children outside, right now?” I gasped as pupils milled around. The teacher peered at me with a mixture of bemusement and alarm. I tried again. “Spider webs! You know, spiders’ homes – like the project you’ve been doing.” I could see I wasn’t getting through, but I pressed on. “Can we take the kids out to see them? It won’t take long.”

The teacher smiled at me distractedly and – maybe I’m imagining this – a bit pityingly. “Well, there’s registration and then I have to take

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