Friday, April 01, 2005

Of spiders and me

They’re back. I don’t believe it! I was meandering pleasantly through my morning routine .. you know the usual kind of thing … wake up to some Classic FM, a cup of tea, feed the cat, feed the fish …. wander into the bathroom for a shower. BAM! That’s when I saw them! The skeletons of some unidentifiable insects were hanging in the corner as if suspended in space. The dreaded spiders and their horrible webs were back!

After coming to live in Auckland I thought I had found a way of dealing with these little monsters. I use the vacuum cleaner to suck up the spiders and their webs. I’m merciless!

This unsympathetic approach to spiders goes against everything my mother taught me. She insisted that spiders brought good luck and as such had to be treated with respect. Now looking back, I believe this romantic view of spiders arises from the fact that in Scotland, before the days of central heating, insects of any kind were rarely seen. This could easily lead to the conclusion that spiders brought good luck. Obvious really! The odd spider that we found in the bath tub was gently scooped up and released into the great outdoors through the bathroom window which had been opened for the purpose. There was one variety of spider that we called daddy longlegs. With a name like that, how could we ever consider squashing it?

You grow up, you move on and you only have to live in a warm country for a few years to take quite a different approach to members of the creepy crawly community. It’s in the warmer climes that the significance of the oft stated mantra insects are the most abundant group of creatures on earth takes on its full meaning. In India there are insects and insects and even more insects. During the years that I lived there I learned to co-habit with most of them … cockroaches were a bit of a challenge but they always succumbed to my deadly boric acid balls (made from a mixture of flour, sugar, milk and boric acid). These nice little round balls of dough were distributed in kitchen and bathroom cupboards. Of a morning, the satisfying sight of the floor littered with the carcasses of cockroaches on their backs, legs in the air was just the kind of reward I needed. And ants … all kinds of them … big, small … black, red .. tiny smelly ones. Yuck! They would get into food left unattended for more than a few moments. Even the teaspoon that you had used to stir the sugar into your tea with, if carelessly left by the side of the sink, would attract their almost immediate attention. I used to stand the legs of the table in bowls of water to stop the ants from climbing on to the table and into our dinner. The little red ants, the ones that bite, had a way of getting into the bed leading to a night of torture that was inevitably followed by a day of toil for everything had to removed from the bed to make sure that every last one of the little torturers had been hunted down. And I haven’t even mentioned the mosquitoes, the flies, the scorpions. Is it any wonder that with so many more aggravating creatures around I don’t even remember seeing anything as benign as a spider?

However, spiders in Auckland are quite a different matter … they just love our house and leave their webs in every corner. Persistent little beggars …… there's nothing for it but death-by-vacuum-cleaner again this weekend.

Wicked laugh!


Blogger granny p said...

Cockroaches are the pits... we get some - but compared to India we're well off. Spiders? I know what you mean - but watching a spider spin its web is sublime. I feel quite guilty destroying all that hard labour. Thanks for putting me on your blog list by the way. I'm honoured!

4:17 AM  
Blogger Mark Gamon said...

I'm trying to imagine suddenly being sucked out of your cosy home and up a long long spinning funnel into a terribly dark place where all manner of strange fluffs and odours and for all I know insects so small they're invisible to the naked human eye surround you.

Seems to me a spider might quite like it. Reading it back it sounds rather like Dorothy's journey in the Wizard of Oz. Minus the lion, of course...

2:32 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

I hate spiders too, but I try not to kill them unless they are in or near my bed. I love what Mark said about death by vacuum being a reverse Wizard of OZ trip.
Michele sent me and I'll be back to poke around again.

4:21 AM  
Blogger Wickwire said...

I hate spotting a spider in my house, looking for something to kill it with, then looking back to where it was and it's gone!

7:47 AM  

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