As a kid, it is impossible to go to bed when there is a spider on your ceiling. That’s just how it is.
If you do (which you can’t, but if you did) it would walk all the way across the ceiling from the other corner of the room, upside down, and suddenly lose its grip immediately above your head. Then you’d have two possible scenarios: it could walk into your mouth and you’d swallow it in your sleep (you eat an average of eight spiders per year in your sleep, remember) or it could walk ito your ear and lay eggs there and you’d have an inexplicably itchy brain for a few weeks before tiny spiders poured out of your ear and nose holes (like that guy in Chile).
And who wants that?
So, you have to get your Dad to catch it. Or your Stepdad. Or your Mum. Not your Stepmother though, because Stepmothers are wicked and naturally in league with spiders.
Cue much poking at the ceiling with a rolled-up Smash Hits until, SO unexpectedly, the spider falls to the floor and disappears. Usually behind the bed, which you REALLY can’t get into now, due to the valance . Because valances are of no documented use AT ALL except as a means of the spider under your bed to climb into your bed and crawl either a. into your mouth or b. into your ear.
So next your Dad has to pull the bed out and go and fetch some Tupperware. And so on. You’ve been there. You remember. Unless you live somewhere with very poisonous spiders and no Tupperware parties, in which case you’re probably dead by now.
Anyhow. My Dad now lives 70 miles away. He might be retired, with all the time in the world (he even cleaned the high chair last time he was here. He has THAT much time) but he still wouldn’t appreciate being called over every time we have a spider situation. And to top it off, I have kids. Kids that I’m not even allowed to project my own fears onto! Imagine that!
Sure, I’m married, but even so, sometimes I have to let him leave the house.
So, what’s a girl to do?
The Reluctant Girl’s Guide to Catching Spiders is here to help.
Check out this guy’s fabulous video:
Found a spider in a packet of prawn cocktail flavoured crisps the other day.
Hadn’t caught it there on purpose, though; that would have been be weird. It would also have been unfair – both on the spider and on the crisps. Unfair, because let’s face it, prawn cocktail flavour anything needs all the help it can get to be popular. If someone thinks “Do you know what? I REALLY fancy prawn cocktail crisps”, then that’s a rare victory for prawn cocktail. If that someone then found out there was a spider in there too, well, that would ruin it for everyone.
We don’t often have crisps in. Not because we don’t like them – crisps are brilliant. It’s just that we don’t often buy them - and sadly no-one ever comes round dishing out free crisps.
These ones were left over from a party; a big packet, already opened and just knocking around waiting to be finished. They were in the cupboard, and (unless it was actually a supermarket own-brand spider) so was the spider.
Whether it wandered in looking for the laydeez, or whether it just liked crisps, who knows.
Either way, it really hadn’t ended well.
Yet again, off topic.
Although… there was a massive spider in the sink this morning. One of those big brown harvest spiders with the knobbly eyes. I tried to catch him in a clean beans and sausages tin. Reckon it was a ‘him’ anyway; think he must have been on the prowl for laydeez and ended up a bit lost in our sink. He wasn’t overly impressed with the beans and sausages tin though – perhaps because it had no laydee spiders in it, or perhaps he was just more of a spaghetti hoops man. But either way he climbed out and sat on it instead.
This is how brave I’m getting: I was hanging onto the tin at this point, and didn’t even throw the whole lot in in the sink and squeal like a girl. (I am still a girl, by the way. Just a remarkably brave one). So, me and the beans and sausages tin with the spider perched on the top went all the way down the hallway to the front door. I managed to unlock and get out of the front door without any throwing or squealing, and then deposited the spider in the flower bed, where he wandered off (hopefully still on the pull, and not just climbing up the drainpipe to my bedroom window to see how brave I really am.)
Which brings us neatly onto…
I like hot sauce.
I like Jaffa Cakes too. But today, hot sauce gets the glory.
Just imagine my delight at discovering this number from the hugely underrated West-End musical “King of the Condiments!”, which pretty much sums up all the thoughts I’ve ever had about hot sauce!
The Hot Sauce Song
Hot sauce for barbeque, spicy and smoky.
Hot sauce with ginger, JD and chipotle.
Hot sauce on Quorn burgers or onion rings,
These are a few of my favourite things!
Mustard, Tabasco, madras, piri-piri.
Frank’s or Dave’s Gourmet or garlic sweet chilli.
Of all the condiments, hot sauce is King!
That’s why it’s maybe my favourite thing.
Hot sauce with honey, cayenne or scotch bonnet.
Everything’s fabulous with hot sauce on it.
Whether it’s breakfast or dinner or tea,
Ther’ll be a hot sauce that’s perfect – you’ll see.
When it’s boring!
When I’ve burnt it!
When it just tastes mad…
I simply remember my fridge full of hot sauce,
And then I don’t feel so bad!
With thanks to Frank and Dave. And Marie Sharp, for that matter.
And apologies to Rogers and Hammerstein.
And another thing!
Lots of them in fact. Loads of the wiggly little efforts.
I can’t be doing with them either.
For a start, they’re not even real silver. So you can’t pop them in one of those free envelopes and send them off in exchange for cash.
And they’re not even real fish. So you can’t justifiably buy them a tank, keep them, get them some new friends from what you think is the most reputable, disease free silverfish shop around and then wait for them all to die slowly of some mystery illness imported from the shop’s tanks. (Which would be job done – no more silverfish, no guilty conscience either.)
There’s plenty of stuff that will kill them. But then they wriggle while they are dying, for at least two days, to remind you exactly how tight you were to kill them in the first place. I don’t want them to die slowly, that’s horrible. The only legitamate reason to get rid of them is because they apparently ‘like to eat glue’. We’ve all known people like that. It’s not like they are spreading disease – just looking wierd and using a false identity. And as far as I know, that’s not illegal either…Oh.
I just want them to leave.
So the other day, I had a bit of search for ethical ways to get them to to move out; and I found the Holy Grail of silverfish removal:
It’s a thing that makes a noise silverfish can’t stand. So they move next door (Sorry, Hayley). It’s safe for children, dogs, cats, llamas, maybe even real fish (didn’t actually check; we’re bound to need new fish from the ‘reputable fish shop’ soon to boost their gene pool and stop the boys harrassing the girls, so they’re all on borrowed time anyway. And I don’t suppose fish don’t have ears.)
Fantastic! There was an end in sight to the constant battle that rages in my head (Can I kill them? Nope. Can I ask Adam to kill them? Is that the same thing? Can I learn to hover or buy slippers on stilts so they’re not even an issue?)
Nearly bought it then and there. Whilst simultaneously doing the ‘Got rid of the fraudulent little blighters’ dance.
But then I noticed something else that can’t abide the noise and would either have to leave or go insane trying.
Flipping Guinea Pigs.
Don’t even get me started.
There’s just one problem with blogging about spiders and chickens in the evening (well, perhaps two, if you count looking like you don’t get out much).
The problem is, that when you go off to bed, there’s a fair chance that your head will still be full of spiders and chickens.
Then as you lie there snuggled up in the bedclothes, with the rest of the house snoring gently, and you suddenly wonder whether you can feel something crawling over your ankle….
You can be pretty sure it probably isn’t a chicken.
I like my chickens like I like my men: large, cheerful, and most importantly, ginger.
Yeah, you guessed it. A poultry attempt at changing the subject, because spiders are SO last season. The Autumn-Winter season is almost upon us, and according to those that know, it’s going to be all about chickens. And cobalt blue, apparently.
Which I’m happy with, because I LOVE cobalt blue.
I do NOT, however, love white chickens.
There! I said it! I can’t be doing with white chickens. I wouldn’t say it outside where they might hear me, but I can confidently put it in print, because I’m pretty sure that white chickens are not big readers. Not that they’d really give a damn anyway - most chickens are naturally curious, which is appealing and kind of funny, but to a white chicken the world is apparently divided into two categories: Sweetcorn and Not Sweetcorn. And if you’re Not Sweetcorn, then to white chicken you are NOTHING.
In the past we’ve always had Warrens, and I like those a lot. They’re the chicken equivalent of having a silver car: sure, there’s a lot of them around, but by heck they’re great for not showing the dirt.
Owning white chickens is like, well, owning a white car: Exciting to start with, when they look all bright and snazzy. The kind of chickens Jamie Oliver would have running around him if he was advertising Persil. But then you realise the upkeep required to keep them looking anything like that for longer than a week or so.
To be fair, that’s where the similarity to white cars ends. They are much slower. And you can’t jet-wash them either. In fact, they hate it – and the neighbours hate it too, especially when a rogue jet of water propells an angry chicken over their garden fence and slap bang onto their lap while they are sunbathing. (Yes… I’m yolking, of course! Our neighbours are pretty cool about that kind of thing, and this summer has been rubbish for sunbathing anyway.)
There’s always something. One white chicken has been plucking the other white chicken’s eyebrows while it was asleep. The other white chicken retaliates by pecking a hole in the other white chicken’s shoulders. Both white chickens mysteriously have bald bottoms. The dust bath they have been playing in all summer suddenly turns into a mud bath but they don’t notice until too late, then both brown chickens look a right sorry state.
Today, I’ve been disinfecting the henhouse, coating the inside in mite spray and puffing diatomaceous earth on anything and anywhere that the back of the packet suggested (which is pretty much the world and his wife and their cow and the kitchen sink by the looks of it. It apparently is good for EVERYTHING. In fact I’m surprised I was able to just buy it online and not have to wait for some guy to come around in a covered wagon, with a horse and a sharp suit and a mute assistant in a big hat, with the whole town gathering around to buy this miracle cure by the crateload.).
Yep. Scrubbing, spraying, disinfecting…and, all this in a black knitted mini-dress which I accidentally put on this morning! Like I somehow rolled out of bed and thought I lived in the city centre and was off to the pub; like I completely forgot that today’s plans largely involved taking the kids to the skatepark and cleaning out the chickens.
All this, in the hope that ‘looking a bit rubbish’ is something I can cure, and not just an integral part of being a free-range white chicken in a damp country.
So, to be honest, it is small wonder that I like my chickens like I like my men:
Large, cheerful, ginger and…
ok, most importantly…
Easy to catch.
Loads of people want to know whether or not spiders can swim.
I know this, simply because I wondered the same thing. So I Googled it, as you do, and the web is simply crawling (ah, but not swimming) with questions on this very topic.
Mostly questions posted on those sites where you can ask other people who won’t know either. Not sites exclusively staffed by spider experts, hell no. Why would you ask them? So, essentially, you just get lots of people’s opinions on whether spiders might be able to swim.
Which is fair enough.
I expect actual spider experts have way better things to do on a Thursday night than trawl the net for Questions Only They Can Answer.
So, if you happen to stumble on this by way of a search engine, get ready for more of the same.
Some can swim really well. They can do crazy things with bubbles too. But specific types of spider. Probably not the one you flushed down the loo or washed down the plughole yesterday. Which, let’s face it, is why you asked – either that or you are a little tipsy and ended up in some bizarre argument you really didn’t see coming.
Maybe house spiders can swim a bit. Or maybe just float and thrash around a bit. Hard to tell, given the circumstances.
Like me (although I may be starting to turn into a bit of a eight legged freak) you didn’t start off with any real urge to learn about the Half Inch Water Spider. You just wanted to a) ease your conscience or b) win.
Again. Fair enough. And I hope you win.
But remember this…
In a death match between Duncan Goodhew and a spider, Duncan Goodhew will always, always, win.