Yes, it’s that time of year again. I leave the house in the morning and as I walk down the front steps I’m trapped, wrapped up in the finest silk, mobbed by a gang of speckled monsters who to me are giants. They cross a metre of path to stretch their tightrope from plant to tree and back a dozen times and each morning I have to be the first to break through. I grab a section checking that the beast is as far away as possible, too close and they rebound back and in a blink they are up your arm. They clearly think I’m one of them because they head for my hair given half a chance. But how do they make those long ropes? If a spider is three inches wide – believe me these are – then to make a strand across my path they have to leap twelve times their own width, all the time spinning and releasing the strand. Or, perhaps they dangle their way slowly to the ground, spinning on the way and when they reach land they run across it and climb back up the next bush or wall to the opposite side? I know, I know but have you got any better ideas?
and this one was settling in the Rosemary for the night. I know their plans, it can’t be much longer before they want to sleep in my room. They want a warm, dark corner to lurk in until spring and then they will lay their tiny eggs. They will wrap them in a cocoon of white silk, go and die in one of my shoes, and then as soon as its warm enough outside, three million horrid albino spiderlings will emerge. I’ll spend winter in fear. You think I’m crazy, irrational? Well when I was young, I was bitten on the back of my neck by a big, black, hairy spider and ever since I can’t bear the little horrors. I’m not alone am I?