Ali’s web

I had come home later than usual one night, long past Ali’s bedtime, and as I came upstairs, Frances said to me “I think you should go upstairs and see what Alasdair has done.” My heart sank. This is normally shorthand for “you’re not going to like this.”

I tiptoed up to his bedroom, mentally rehearsing my most fearsome admonitions, to be delivered with the chez-MacPhee version of the solemnity of the Black Cap. His door was ajar, his light on, and I put my head round the opening.

From wall to wall, from door to bookcase, clothesrail, desk, chair, dartboard, window, in three great intersecting planes from two to four feet from the floor, he had woven a giant spider web.

He had taken one of Frances’s cones of light grey wool (which she keeps for the knitting machine), hooked one end round the end of his bookcase, and slowly and methodically wove a huge web than hung from the walls the whole length and breadth of his room, parallel to the floor.

The mesh is in about one foot segments neatly interlinked, in three main planes that intersect approximately in the middle of the room, and looped in nodes with three or four strands radiating from each. Everything that has a point to be hooked from was linked into the web, even the handles on his bedroom door, now fixed ajar, each corner of his bed, and his dartboard.

He looked up at me with that sudden look that is usually followed by a guilty gulp, but, like Frances before me, I could only gasp in amazement; and he in turn was thrilled at our delight.

I went up later at night, as I always do, to look in on him before going off to bed myself, and there he was, fast asleep under his web.


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