Wednesday, 18 November 2015

An eight legger problem

Not wanting to look at a picture of today’s blog subject, I have chosen a couple of flowers instead.
It’s that time of year when ‘thems what usually live outdoors’, make their way in for the winter. Every year I go through the same process of being horrified at the size of the spiders that choose to make our home theirs.

Now I do understand how important they are and I appreciate that they are busy keeping down the fly population and I know that they, along with all other little animals, have a vital part to play in our fragile ecosystem, but really… Do they need to put on their army boots and stomp across the living room floor? Do they need to build skyscraper webs in the conservatory? Do they need to hide in the cardboard centre of the loo roll (yes really!)?

Fortunately this year I have missed the worse of the exodus while I’ve been curled up in bed, but now we need to pack everything into boxes in readiness for the move to our new home. Last night, we tackled the utility room which has had three years worth of ‘I’ll pop it in the ute room for now’. This means that we have quietly accumulated a whole host of stuff, an oil lamp and camping gas stove (in case of power cuts), log baskets, picnic baskets, rugs and picnic blankets (we’ve never been on a picnic together), fabric to make new curtains, framed pictures and photos (too numerous to ever all be put up on display), and all those other things that we gather over the years thinking that they may be useful one day. Anyway, this lot needed sorting and packing.

Mr J and I started to sort and within minutes he exclaimed ‘Oh! That’s either a spider or a mouse!’. At this point I was pretty much cornered, I’d have to walk past the offending creature to make an escape from the utility room, so I girded my loins and did the brave thing – I squealed.

The dilemma of this situation was that I really don’t like big, crunchy, clodhopping spiders and Mr J is none too fond of mouse-like creatures. We each have a role in our house, he removes spiders and I liberate mousey things that Archie has brought home, it’s perfect, it works and we have a nice balance of responsibility. But now what to do? Well I’m too much of a wimp about eight-leggers to do very much, so Mr J took charge (thank goodness) and poked at the corner where it was hiding to determine the species of our unwanted visitor. It was a humongous spider. Okay, so not one of those plate size monsters found in the desert, but still one of the largest domestic specimens that I have seen for many years. I turned away as Mr J removed it and once again he became my hero.

Over the years I have tried many an old trick to keep spiders away – placing this season’s conkers on the windowsills and by doors seems to have worked best. I gather the reasoning is that conkers give off some sort of smell (a gas?) that spiders don’t like. It could be total hogwash, but I’m inclined to believe it works and am happy in my ignorance if it doesn’t. However, if anyone knows of other ways to keep these beasties away, I’d appreciate the wisdom.

Time for a cup of tea.

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