I've been here, in my first ever house for a couple of months now, and it's pretty amazing. Imagine. Me. A homeowner!
Well. I say "owner". Of course what I mean is "occupier", by account of the mortgage company having rather more of an interest than I do, but let's set the small matter of thirty something years of repayments to one side. Humour me, please. Call me a homeowner.
It took me a few years to get on the old property ladder, largely because I've done it alone. It took me a while to build up enough courage to sign myself up for this huge obligation, with nothing in the way of support. It's a vast undertaking, and is more than a little terrifying, but look at me. I'm a big brave girl. And it's mine, all mine! (Wah ha ha haaaa!)
But here's the thing. I'm not here alone at all. There are other beings living in the house with me, and I can't say I'm any too pleased about it. The other inhabitants are black and hairy and come with more legs than is strictly necessary. The other inhabitants are spiders.
These are not your run-of-the-mill house spiders. Not those ones that are all spindly legs and no action. Not the ones that abseil from the ceiling on invisible threads. Not the ones that are supposed to bring you good luck and money. Noooooo! These babies are VAST!
I found one walking up the stairs the other day, so huge that his legs poked out around the edge of the mug that I caught him under. When I threw him out of the bathroom window, I heard him hit the gravel in the garden (before waving a fist at me and hopping back on his Harley*).
I found another on the wall behind the front door who, whilst I was trying to chase him out, fell on the floor, and landed next to his Dad. Funny how a big spider can suddenly seem small when standing in the shadow of a larger beast. Both were chased out into the street, where they menaced local cats.
Enough is enough. You boys are going to have to go! I don't want anything living here which, at rest, holds its knees higher than its ears. (Not smutty comments please).
It as at this point that I was told of spider scaring research being undertaken by British chemists. The nice men at RSC (Royal Society of Chemistry, not Royal Shakespeare Company) are giving £300 to anyone who can prove that spiders are kept at bay with conkers. Yes ... conkers. Those brown shiny nutty things that drop out of trees at this time of year, for the amusement of small boys. Conkers. There is a theory that they keep spiders away, but no-one knows why. Do they give off bad spider vibes? Do they speak at a pitch audible only to spiders? Do they look like something alarming from the spider's past? It's a mystery.
Some proverbial old wives will have it that a bowl of conkers in a house will keep all spiders away. Others put one conker in the corner of each room. Either way, the theory goes that our eight legged friends will stay well clear.
And so it was that on Monday afternoon, I wandered up to the Common to collect myself a bag full of the good stuff, and have now put a bowl in the corner of the bathroom. I'll let you know how I get on. If all else fails, I figure I've not got a bowl full of missiles which I can throw at anything living here which isn't paying rent.
And who knows ... if I get a photo of a spider being pinned to the wall by a conker, I might earn myself £300!
* The bit about the fist waving and the Harley isn't true. It was a Kawasaki.
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