I cannot remember a time of my life when I have not been afraid of spiders. Some of it is learned behaviour (I do after all have a mother who moves the furniture to hoover underneath on a regular basis so nothing with 8 legs can lurk underneath and creep out to surprise her at night), and some of it is an entirely rational (as far as I’m concerned) hang-over fear from humanity’s early days when spiders were as big as houses and angrier than a thwarted toddler.
You have seen the most recent King Kong film, haven’t you? See? Big Spiders. BIG. HUUUUUUGGGGEEEE. I rest my case.
Anyway, mostly these days, I manage to sit on my fears as now I’m the only adult in the house, ergo, the only person to remove said creatures. I ignore the ones in corners, chat to the spindly ones (in the hope that by being friendly, they won’t eat my face whilst I’m asleep) and have gone so far as to usher out into the garden the bigger-than-I-wish-to-cohabit-with ones, rather than reaching for the hoover and holding the nozzle with my very fingertips.
But what I really really draw the line at is finding them crawling into my cleavage. Specifically, crawling into my cleavage when I’m in a rather important meeting with Historic England and an archaeologist. So lo, when it came to pass that last Friday, I was nodding my head sagely and saying “hmm, yes, raft foundations…gable end…etc”, I felt something unusual in that direction.
Looking down, I see a spider about the size of my thumbnail (which I consider to be a considerable size in an arachnid) heading southwards. With great presence of mind, I turn to look in the direction of a particularly fine example of Tudor timber-framing, and swiftly reach in to pluck the fearless creature from my regions, flinging it away, hopefully far away.
However. I am not entirely sure I’ve got the little blighter. I cannot rummage around in there to check. I couldn’t be sure I’d managed to grab it. In fact, I’m not entirely if I didn’t just squash it against myself and now have spider goo on me.
But, professional as I am, I control the rising hysterics and continue with the meeting. All the while my internal monologue sounds like this…
“Yes, yes, I can see the need for a full building condition report…there’s a spider in my dress…a heritage statement is indeed a good thing…there’s a spider in my dress…yes, of course we can go and investigate the attics…there’s a SPIDER in my dress…oh, the cellars too, why not…there’s a SPIDER in my DRESS…that’s been a really useful discussion…FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS SACRED, THERE IS A FUCKING SPIDER IN MY DRESS…”
Finally the people left, I indulged in a mini-meltdown in the privacy of my own office and, when I got home, utterly failed to find the creature, which, I’ve no doubt, is now regaling its many-legged friends with tales of the giant fingers ruthlessly plucking it from its new resting spot and flinging it callously to the ground. I hope they buy it many pints of fly beer, or whatever they drink.
So far, my friends have singularly failed to buy me a restorative pint…
PS I tried to find an image of said King Kong spider but the images that came up on a Google search frankly gave me the wiggins, so you’ll have to imagine it. Plus, I hate it when people drop a spider image into a blog or twitter post, so I couldn’t do it. Have a Monty Python one instead. You’re welcome.