Spider Season

When I first visited here two years ago I was informed that the end of August and all of September is Spider Season. Of course I only stayed for a week then, and last year we returned to Sweden before the worst of it. But this year I’m stuck here for the entire thing. No escape. I have to visit the bathroom (that’s where they dwell) sometimes (more like a couple of times a day). There just is no such thing in Sweden. I mean, we have spiders, and they freak me out, but they are small and you don’t see them that often. There is definitely no such thing as a Spider Season.

I always thought England was quite a lot like Sweden when it came to this sort of thing. No big insects, no dangerous animals. Too cold, surely. Oh my, was I wrong! The neighbourhood I live in is right next to the edge of town, meaning that the fields and proper countryside starts abruptly on the other side of the main road (something that in itself is quite strange to me as a Swede; the transition from urbanised area to countryside is a lot more subtle back home). This means ideal access for the Field Spiders. Field Spiders??? I squeaked the first time my partner mentioned them. In my mind’s eye I saw spiders the size of cats, assaulting some poor rabbit. And I wasn’t far off.

A detailed illustration of an English spider.

Finally we get back in the car, my best friend armed with a stick. We’re all tense, but nothing happens. Until we’re out on the motorway. A second shriek from the backseat, and frantic beating of he stick. My feet are now up on my seat, and me and my partner are both shouting words of encouragement. Then, at last, a triumphant roar! The spider is dead.Last year my best friend was here, visiting us. She’s as terrified of spiders as both me and my partner. We were getting in the car to go to Bristol for a nice day out. We hadn’t even left the driveway before it happened. With a loud shriek my best friend flung the door open and jumped out of the car (which fortunately hadn’t gained any speed as we were still backing out). My partner turns his head around, lets out a shriek of his own and then he’s out of the car as well. I decided the best course of action would be to follow them, so in the end we’re all standing around the car, trying to find the biggest spider I’ve ever seen. But it’s completely impossible. It’s hiding somewhere, and it won’t come out. Twenty minutes we stand there, trying to decide what to do.

Killing spiders generally makes me very uncomfortable. As much as they scare me I’d rather capture them and remove them. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. A car is a very small space. A woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do. She was our hero that day.

That wasn’t even Spider Season Proper.

Last night, when I was brushing my teeth, it started. Something crawling in the corner. Spindly legs. I love this country, and I love being here, but I won’t be able to relax in the shower until October.

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