You’ll never catch me cribbing about it being too hot during spells of fine weather like the one we’ve been enjoying over the last little while, but I have to admit that there is one aspect of summer that I loathe. I can put up with blokes going topless in the middle of town; I can accept the upswing in shaving and tanning/skin perfecting that’s necessary if I want to bare my legs; I can even tolerate the clammy conditions on public transport.
What gets me every year is the explosion in insect and arachnid activity that accompanies warm spells like this.
Over the last week, it feels like every creepy crawly in the city has decamped to our gaff to check it out as a prospective habitat. And because we operate a strict no kill policy, we’ve been spending our evenings chasing out flies and obsessively cleaning surfaces to deter ant incursions and trapping and releasing spiders, like the mouse-sized monster that skittered across the floor during Saturday night’s Eurovision. (The dog just fecking looked at it as it walked in front of his nose; some days, I really wish we’d got a cat.) (Sorry Boris.)
Terrifying and all as The Beast was, it wasn’t actually the worst creepy crawly encounter I’ve had recently. One night last week, I was awoken by the gentle, barely there tickle of something walking across my face. My hope that I’d dreamed it was shattered when Himself said “No you’re right, look! There’s an ant on the pillow!”
I guess my best Buddhist intentions do not extend to being interrupted mid-sleep by an ant marching across my mush, because I crushed that little fecker without a second thought and bought a pair of puppy-proof ant killer gizmos the next morning.
My other recent skin-crawlingly, puke-inducingly close encounter was way too Arachnaphobia for my liking. I’ve always had a problem with spiders so have never actually watched the film in its entirety, but thanks to some badly-timed channel surfing in my younger days I have a working knowledge of its seminal scene. Enjoying a lovely shower the other morning, I finished washing my hair, gently squeezed out the excess water, tipped my hair over my head, and reached for my magic Aquis towel to wrap it up into an out-of-the way turban for the remainder of my ablutions.
As I draped the towel across the back of my head and went to twist the ends together, I paused. I thought I’d just seen something dark move out of the corner of of my eye. It was so imperceptible that I had dismissed it, thinking it must just have been my wet hair, when it moved again, came into proper focus, and I realised that there what I was looking at were the big hairy legs of the big hairy spider that was half on the towel, half on my hair.
How I didn’t accidentally kill myself in the moments that followed I’ll never know, but somehow I managed to hurl the towel and spider to the end of the bath, backpedal along its length and vault out without slipping and breaking my neck/pulling the shower curtain down on top of me, all the while screaming my head off. It seemed to take Himself an age to come check who was murdering me, and when he did eventually arrive in he was greeted by an incoherent, gibbering, sobbing, soaking wreck who needed half an hour and a cup of tea to calm down.
And that was just the spider.
Have you had a close encounter of the crawly kind? Let’s get a support group started in the comments!