Uncovering the Real England: Spiders

A wolf spider sat quietly just inside Mom's back door tonight in an old Country Crock margine bowl.  Motionless.  But he was only playing possum.  He moved when I picked up the bowl and gently set it outside on the cement bench.  It reminded me of a brief spider encounter I had in England a few years ago.

... from a 2009 journal entry...

Hertfordshire Horror.  A large spider found in the county of Hertfordshire, England.  I've heard they can be as big as the palm of your hand.  Finding one in your house: the dread of that puts Horror in its nickname.  However, with no screens on the windows and the windows flying open to catch a breeze, the invitation is open for the Horrors and their smaller cousins to gravitate inward.

On the night we arrived in England, Bill’s mum announced from the upstairs bathroom, “There’s a spider in the bathroom!”  That set the next 15-minute scene into action.  My 40-something husband (despite being married to an Iowa farm girl for 18 years) and sister-in-law went into English spider-removal mode.  Fortunately, it was a smaller spider, not a Horror.  “Stay here, Anne, I’ll take care of it!”  I imagine an anti-spider cape springing from Bill’s shoulders as he ascended the stairs.  “OK, it’s under a glass... we need something to slide under the glass.  A lid.”  Finding this amusing, I simply stood back and watched. 

Anne came up to help, bringing some kind of a lid with her.  Then came the logistical challenge: how do you get the lid under the glass without the spider escaping?  With a loud combined effort, the three eventually worked it out.  Anne zoomed down the stairs, “OK, Bill, I’ve got the door open!”  Bill flew out of the bathroom and down the stairs.  They both went out the door… and disappeared.  I went out to see where they were: two blocks down the street they released the spider.  Probably after spinning in a circle three times to confuse it so it wouldn’t make its way back to the house.  Reminiscent of two teenagers, they walked back giggling with relief.  I met them at the door, amazed that getting rid of a spider could take that long.  “You make life so difficult!”

The next day, I saw a spider – not a Horror –  in June’s kitchen.  It was tightly tucked into the back corner.  I couldn’t get it without moving the table and chairs.  As the week went on, it gradually journeyed closer to the back door.  On day 7, and in the house by myself, I was able to reach it by standing on a kitchen chair.  Squish, wipe, flush.  Five seconds, job done.

I know spiders are good: they eat other bugs.  But there are hundreds of thousands of them out there.  I’m writing this secretly on English soil.  It feels like a confession of guilt.  I’ve broken an assumed spider-protection law. 

...end of journal entry... 

(More Dancing with a Foreign City Slicker...)