Thursday, 29 September 2011


Spiders. Love them or loathe them, one thing’s for sure, right now is the peak of what one friend calls ‘people scaring season’ in the spider world. I’m not talking about those beautiful speckled spiders who lay long, invisible webs across the garden, although the milk-lady says she hates walking into them delivering milk in the early morning, nor the teeny-tiny ones whose trails highlight the sloppy habits of slatterns like myself who don’t dust often. I’m talking about those huge, spotty, hairy ones who maraud around my house as though they own it, and I’m the intruder.

I’m not keen on these guys. Actually, I’m not fond of spiders at all, having fallen hook, line and sinker for the schoolyard myth that spiders lay eggs in your hair which hatch in the shower. I know this is rubbish, but even so, if a spider gets too close, I have to move, just in case it’s got its beady eyes on my hair. Yet I can’t bear to kill them. They are marvellous creatures. If you look closely, they have amazing markings. Their webs are astonishing feats of engineering, and they eat nasty bugs and beasties I’d prefer not to have indoors. They feature in folklore as clever characters, and weavers of the web of life. And in some parts of the world, the really big ones are eaten as a delicacy.

I don’t imagine my house spiders taste good, so I like to think we have an arrangement; I keep out of their way, and they keep out of mine. But at this time of year it’s a different story. The spiders are out and about, rampaging around the house. I’ve always thought it was because they were seeking out a good place to hibernate, but no. It turns out Autumn is their time for romance. So when you see one charging across the floor, it isn’t actually making a move on your hair, it’s looking for an attractive mate.

I have heard this before, but it doesn’t help. The other day, one of the biggest spiders I have ever seen, decided the grey, Teflon-protected, polyester-viscose fabric of younger son’s school trousers was the ideal place to hang out. I went to iron them, and the startled spider scrabbled out from under the fabric, waving its hairy front legs in alarm. There was only one thing to be done: I screamed.

Eldest son came running, imagining some dire happening. I had grabbed the first thing to hand, a jam jar, and trapped the beast. Unfortunately, now he’s at high school, my darling child has turned into a fully paid up member of the ‘my-mother-is-an-idiot’ club, and he was not impressed. ‘It’s only a spider’ he harrumphed. ‘And you’ve trapped its leg. You’re hurting it: let it go.’

I scooped the spider into the jar, and tipped it outside whereupon it promptly made itself look very small and undeserving of all the fuss. ‘Look at the size of it versus the size of you,’ elder son huffed. ‘Honestly, mum.’ I shuffled back into the house, head hanging, suitably chastised. It isn’t easy being upbraided by a twelve-year-old.

The next day I wafted into the lounge to find him rooting about under the settee. ‘I just had one of those big spiders on my arm’, he explained. ‘It ran away, so I’m trying to find it before you start screaming again.’

So that’s it. My child has spoken. To to salvage my standing within my own home, I must make friends with the spider-folk. Or I could just get him to pick them up and put them outside. You might say I’ve trained him well!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Not Dead Yet...

And I’m back!!

What do you mean you didn’t know I’d been gone? Surely you noticed it’s been very, very quiet down here in ‘Tales’ for over a month now? You didn’t? You were grateful? Oh well, I’m big and ugly enough to handle that!

I’ve been missing because I came back from holiday with a major attack of ‘what-is-the-point-itus’, and that swallowed up the past month. I thought, I waste all this time blogging and messing around online when I should be writing my booker-prize winning epic. So I left the computer turned off, and set down to hacking away at the sorry-looking bones of my intended glittery literary masterpiece. It was going quite well until the madness of daily life intervened, whereupon days went by with no writing achieved, and then, like the slugs which somehow magic themselves through a double-glazed back door to leave slimy trails around my kitchen, the old doubts came crawling back in. What is the point? What is the point? I wish I knew.

Anyway, a few people came by and rattled my cage, wondering if I’d either shuffled off this mortal coil, or actually found paid employment, (I am looking) so I thought it was time I broke my silence. And this morning I read an entry from Alison Wells’ blog ‘Head Above Water’ about why blogging isn’t such a pointless activity, but a great opportunity to feel connected to other people, which made me feel a whole lot better.

So I’m back, and normal service will be resumed just as soon as I’ve managed to build the flat packed drawers I’ve bought for younger son’s bedroom. His homework for this week is to practise putting his own clothes away, something he would find easier if he had somewhere to put them. Ho hum. Screwdrivers at the ready, but I can feel the sense-of-humour-failure building already...
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