We spent last autumn in the caravan, which, thankfully, appeared to be a spider-free zone. In fact, I didn't see a single one. But this year, we are sleeping in the trailer and that is a different affair altogether. Large cobwebs stretch above the door and on the underside. Cobwebs that can only have been put in place by something large and muscular – and her mates.
This theory was borne out recently by the Sad Demise of the Pretty Spider. This was a little lime green arachnid who was pottering about among the struts that hold up our new wooden awning. It was a nice day and the sunlight that came through the roof highlighted his colour. I watched as he busily – and happily, I felt – made his way along a long strand of web that I took to be his own creation. 'Ahh,' I thought 'what a clever little chap, isn't nature wonderful!' Nature, at that point intervened in a not wonderful sort of way, when a large and violent spider pounced on my little friend and had him bitten and done up like a kipper before I could say 'Oh'.
My boys, meanwhile, have gleefully taken a book out of the library bearing the title The World's Most Horrible Deadliest Spiders Ever - or something to that effect. Its pages contain gruesome close-ups of eyes and jaws interspersed with descriptions of how prey is reduced to liquid before being sucked up. Just in case this doesn't freak you out enough, there are pictures of injuries arising from spider bites: limbs with large holes containing rotting flesh or swollen extremities oozing pus.
|The common house spider:|
hideous, ain't it?
And, of course, the spider season is about to begin and our trailer feels somewhat exposed.
This silly fear of spiders is something I feel I should conquer – it seems daft to be living off grid in an outside sort of way and being squeamish about our eight-legged friends. Such weakness makes me feel unsuited to our lifestyle; I should be the sort of person who can pick up a spider with interest and conduct a short nature lesson. But then I am always thinking I am unsuited to our lifestyle – I am easily left feeling inadequate by any woman who can change a tyre, wield a bow saw, or any other practical application I am unequal to.
So, vexed I must remain although I shall take steps to help myself – spreading conkers and spraying citronella about - and above all, getting rid of that horrible book.