AUTUMN is such a beautiful time of the year, there is something mystical about the way certain trees lose their leaves as they begin to curl and drop off, creating a magical golden-brown carpet on pavements and country roads. The sun looms increasingly lower in the evenings. And the swallows, which have so masterfully danced above us in summer sky, become a distant memory. For some of us, though, this is a traumatic time of the year, as the arrival of heavy downpours and sweeping winds often mean our homes become a haven for uninvited ‘visitors’.
It was Tuesday night when it happened. There I was sitting in the comfort of my living room basking in the glory of my beloved Arsenal’s demolition of Napoli. But all of a sudden, I saw something move in the corner of my eye. I knew instantly it was large. I turned to meet its glare square on and in a defensive move my feet immediately recoiled towards my chest.
Eight beady eyes glared at me menacingly, before this pretty big spider tore off at speed beneath the couch. For the past few days, I have been a prisoner in my own home. The living room has become a no-go area, you would think the area had been littered with land-mines if you saw me tip-toe in and snatch my hole-riddensocks from the clothes-dryer. You may well laugh, but in the UK alone it’s estimated that there are a million people who suffer with arachnophobia. Of course, there are very few venomous spiders in this country and even fewer reasons to fear the little eight-legged creatures. Imagine a fully grown adult like myself breaking out in a sweat, any time a spider enters the vicinity.
People with a fear of spiders often exaggerate the size of any they see. This isn’t the case with my occurrence. The ‘squatter’ sensed my fear, and after a few minutes it appeared again from beneath the couch and headed straight towards me. Usually spiders scuttle off, fearing being stood on. Yet this was no ordinary arachnid.
It took all my guts and bravery to make a break for it and once in the safety of my bedroom, I turned to professor Google to find out why this spider had invaded the normally tranquil seting of my living room.
I learned Tegenaria Gigantae is the one of the largest spiders on our shores, and I was certain this was the species that had occupied my home. Apparently, it’s usually always freshly matured male ones which trespass so willingly, as they search high and low for a mate. Now, I’m all for a spider finding love, but there is no need for this marauding beast to turn my living room into a giant speed-dating location. I’ve been an adolescent before, I know what it’s like to stop insulting girls and start having delirious crushes on them. Let’s get one thing straight, though. I’ve never entered someone’s home uninvited and searched under the couch for the love of my life. (Well, there was that one night!)
I suppose I have my mother to blame, as it’s those vivid childhood memories of her screaming every time a spider made an appearance which has left me with this awful affliction. Unfortunately, it’s here to stay, just like my lodger, unless of course I can find a glass large enough to catch the beast. In the meantime, my living room remains off-limits.
– DARREN MURPHY