I have moved out of Jeremy and David's flat and I am now staying with the Tarantulas. I think it is always best to spread oneself out and try not to overstay one's welcome. The nice German estate agent girl is still renting my flat on Ladbroke Grove. (see October 6 entry).
The Tarantulas are amongst my oldest and dearest friends. I stayed with them when I left my husband and several times between flats over the years. Princess Lulie christened them the Tarantulas, which has no bearing on their characters or their behaviour apart from the fact that they love wildlife and their house is crammed full of unusual creatures, both living and dead. The Tarantulas' real names are in fact beautiful and luminous and perfectly suited to their generous and kind nature: Claire Angel and Geoffrey Brightling.
Over the years their edwardian Crouch End townhouse has been the unlikely home not only to tarantulas but also to boa constrictors, ferrets, stick insects, various toads and exotic frogs, not to mention a wide selection of cats covering the whole feline spectrum from the homely ginger pussycat curled up on the chair beside me to an alarming hairless and wrinkly species known as Devon Rex. There are also univited inhabitants, such as the family of slugs who live behind the skirting board in the sitting room, leaving beautiful silvery trails on the Chinese carpet (see entry below). Claire and Geoff make no distinction and welcome all and sundry into their big generous embrace.
Some years ago they had a couple of Australian tree frogs, very beautiful and bright green. They lived in a vivarium on top of the side board in the dining room, just where the cutlery drawers were kept. For some reason they would start mating when they heard the cutlery drawers rattling. Geoff's theory was that the sound made them remember the spring wind through the eucalyptus trees back home in New South Wales. Sometimes of a summer afternoon if I got bored I used to say: 'go on Geoff, let's make them do it!'