Saturday, September 03, 2005

Little Miss Muffet

I have an air raid shelter at the back of my garden. Not one of those small Anderson ones but a big reinforced concrete shelter with a blast door and room for about 6 people. It's pretty cool really. When I first bought my place I had some nice ideas for it. A dark room for photography, an office, or even a sauna. Sadly, all it is at the moment is a "place to put things in", like my bike, spare bits of wood, paints and a lawn mower. I don't like to call it a shed as I feel that would demean it. Its previous life was much more noble: a place of protection and safety as bombs fell all about it. But I guess that's what it really is at the moment. A shed.

In the last few weeks, however, it has become something more sinister than just a shed. Oh yes! It has become a "place where lots of big spiders live" and I'm just not happy about it. There are so many spiders in there that they are now spilling out into the garden. It's like a scene from Arachnaphobia, a film I watched when all around me warned me not to. I should have listened!

When I have to go the shelter I hold a rake out in front of me so I don't walk through any invisible webs (top of my list of worst ever things to happen). And when I get there I run in, grab what I'm after and run out checking my clothing for renegade arachnids.

The problem is getting worse. The other day I was sat in the garden with a friend. I couldn't concentrate on what she was saying. Over her right shoulder in the flower bed was the most ENOURMOUS spider web I have ever seen. On the one hand I was gobsmacked at the intracacy and scale of this stunning bit of architecture. From end to end it was over one and a half meters long. On the other hand I was scared shitless. A big web usually means a big spider.

If that wasn't enough to tip the balance of my phsyche, a small spider interrupted our conversation by abseiling down from the branch above us. It was tiny, but that's not the point is it? Spiders grow don't they? I gingerly grabbed at the thread it was hanging from and dropped it onto the grass. (nb: I couldn't have done that if the spider had been any bigger than 2mm in diameter). Ten minutes later, another tiny spider did exactly the same thing. And then it occurred to me. Spiders have lots and lots and lots of babies (or at least according to Charlotte's Web) to increase the chance of at least a few of them surviving. So, does that mean that there lots and lots of baby spiders all abseiling down from the tree in my garden? And if so, is it morally wrong to set fire to the tree?