Ah, Autumn. Season of falling leaves, rosy red apples, the first frost under foot … and giant bastard spiders invading your home after dark.
You know what I’m talking about. Those massive black meaty ones that are too big to fit under a teacup. Not that I’m getting close enough to try, to be honest, because what if it suddenly ran up the cup and onto my arm and into my hair to make a nest? I can’t take those sort of chances – I’m a mother now.
Nothing will deter them. The Internet will tell you all sorts of nonsense – citronella, vinegar, horse chestnuts. I’ve tried it all – I even sprayed an invisible barrier of bug spray around every room, like a magic circle of poison – to no effect.
Conkers are only helpful if you physically lob them at the spider from across the room while shrilly calling for help. Even then, the bastard won’t actually learn its lesson and move on out.
Because yes, these monstrosities are living under our noses the whole year round. When we first moved into our rural home, left dormant & unoccupied for the previous year, I encountered one so large by the AGA that I refused to go in the kitchen for a week. It scuttled behind the wooden boarding on the walls, and when I googled to see how long it might last in there – how long I might feasibly have to forgo tea and toast and all hot meals for – I discovered that house spiders typically live for ten years. TEN YEARS. That’s older than my oldest underwear. That’s significantly longer than my best relationship.
Speaking of relationships, once when my then-boyfriend was away for the weekend I found & bravely trapped a monster spider under a pint glass. It was on the stairs, so for the three days my bf was absent I had to stretch over that stair each time I passed, while it goaded me from beneath its bell jar like a spooky museum exhibit.
Finally, my other half returned, and asked why did I have a black feather under a glass on the stairs? Was it modern art?
Indeed, it transpired that my arachnid foe have fallen off a friend’s feather boa when she’d stopped by to flaunt en-route to a hen party. The twitching legs I’d observed were the fronds gently fluttering under the force of my panicked breath.
Nevertheless, this remains my single bravest spider encounter to date.
Please don’t tell me they’re more scared of me because I really have tried to coexist. At university, in a house full of girls with no spider-saviours available, I took to naming them in an effort to bond and try to think of them as pets. Frederika lived in the downstairs bathroom quite happily until I noticed she only had 7 legs, and was in fact the very same spider I’d had my dad evict months earlier. (The leg-loss was a total accident, I swear. )
She was mocking me with her resilience – as I watched, she lifted a leg and waved at me. At least, I think that’s what happened – there had been quite a bit of wine consumed by this point. I’m certain she was not a feather, at any rate.
The other night in bed, having just one more look at Twitter before sleep, I felt something tickling across my chest. I shone my iPhone to discover not just a giant bastard spider, but clearly a pervert bastard spider who had dropped from the ceiling to get an eight-handed fondle of my breasts.
Luckily, I have a defence team. After discovering the AGA Spider and her hoarde of beastly friends, we adopted two rescue kittens – Earl and Grey. They do an admirable job of keeping down the mice and spider populations in our kitchen, (although the spate of baby bunnies that Grey brought in over the summer was undeniably traumatic for all.)
But a few weeks ago, Earl went missing and has not been seen since.
It could be a coincidence, I suppose – it could maaayybe be linked to the reports from various neighbours about him eating their cat’s dinner and sleeping in their beds – but I think the truth is far more sinister.
I think the spiders have him, and they’re coming for us next.
ps I realise these photos here are average and essentially irrelevant, but I don’t have any photographs of spiders, oddly enough.