Arachnid invasion: it’s spider season in the UK | Jack Marshall’s column

‘Tis the season. The season when that edge of density drools out of the air with spurts of warm rain so hefty that each drop dampens your entire t-shirt. The season when shedding trees are singed with orange and clouds go from fluffy to blubbery. In other words, it’s Big Spider season.

You know the ones. Those nasty things which suddenly appear in the first week of September, darting for the cover of furniture and dusty corners with their stupid unnecessarily wide wingspans. You go from spotting the odd daddy longlegs to an infestation of mini tarantulas. With apologies to any arachnophiles, they’re horrid things.

And my apologies are sincere: I’m an animal lover at heart raised by a mother so soft that she doesn’t like putting a single piece of balled-up paper in the bin because it might get lonely. But there’s something very primal in our dislike of September spiders, a fiery hatred of their very essence which is impossible to shake.

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I met one recently, a wily customer who had found one of the most devious hiding places ever concocted: the gas fireplace. Behind the grill, the fireplace was a veritable rabbit’s warren of the kinds of nooks and crannies which spiders have eight-eyed dreams about. But we couldn’t get at him. So there he lay in wait, hidden but just out of reach.

The captured spider...

All spiders have an innate capacity for evil, and his manifested itself in him displaying a few of his vile legs from behind the grill whilst we sat there on the sofa, eyes wrenched from the telly by this spiteful creature. He could sense we we’re unnerved, so he revelled in reminding us he was there, just out of reach.

Until, one evening, he got too cocky.

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Glancing down, I suddenly spotted him fully out, sunning himself on the marble hearth. I crept backwards and armed myself with the vac and well… Reader, I hoovered him. My nemesis was vanquished. Victorious, I dumped him outside amidst a tangle of dust and hair. I’d won the battle, but he won the war: I can never look at that fireplace the same way again.