Memoir Meme - rewriting history

Monday, January 13, 2014
This is the first entry for my theme Memoir Moments - rewriting history. Every Monday I will write a short memory from my own life, based around a word prompt. As you may know from reading this post, I have a good memory, and this is a way I can relive those moments, record them, and practice writing at the same time. Join in if you like the sound of that too! 500 words max.


In the backwoods of Marlborough, far, far off the busy main road that winds past the turnoff, going out to Pelorus, is a camping ground beside a little river, bubbling away over rocky ground as it sweeps past the valleys and hills and old, old trees.
We were there one summer. Me and my sister and a few friends from town. Those carefree days in the early 80’s when the phrase Politically Correct didn’t exist and we children could go off exploring across the river on our own.

We forged that flowing river and rested ourselves on the hot sunny rocks on the other side before climbing around to an area where it was flatter. We perched on those rocks and looked back at the little camp with the triangular pup-tents and our parents sitting around on the river bank drinking cups of tea from a thermos and sharing cake from a tupperware container. Their laughter drifting across the water, echoing around the valley in the warm sunshine.

Creeping carefully around the rocks, to our delight we found a cave. A rocky tunnel of sorts stretching a few metres in rugged tubular cavern, damp and wet and stony. It wasn’t unusual to find a cave in this place. We had already explored a few that were dotted around the landscape. The older girls went ahead of us, while me and my sister and a friend lingured behind them, allowing them the privilege of intrepid travellers.

“I bet there are lots of spiders in here.” one of us said.

“I can find you one.” said the older girl.

She bent down and lifted a few of the heavy, damp stones away that lay near the entrance. We watched with cautious curiosity, edging closely around her as she knelt and peered into the hollows she left behind as she turned the rocks over.

She stood up.
“Have you ever seen a Katipo spider?” she asked.

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“I’ve seen one preserved in a jar at my old school.” I replied. But that was all. None of us had ever seen one in the wild.

“Well, here’s one now. If you look carefully. It’s tucked in right down the end of that hole.”

We each took our turn, bending down and peering into the hole, our hearts beating fast with the thrill, and there way at the back was the Katipo. Looking like it was doing its best to ignore us.

I’ve never seen a Katipo in the wild again. That was the first and only time to date, and the closest I have ever come to New Zealand’s only deadly spider.

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