Doing battle with daily dragons

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Last night’s electrical storm was something to behold. It had been on the cards all day; the air was swampy and the smell of ozone made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

The Rock Star was in Aylesbury haggling out his troubles with the Mis-spelled Band when it all started. I had all the windows on the boat open due to the heat of the day. When you live in a well-insulated steel tube, 85 degree sunny days are not your friend. Anyone who’s ever gotten into a car that’s been left in the sun all day will know that sometimes it’s just easier to sit outside for a while rather than sit in the sauna that is your car’s interior. At least on the boat, you don’t burn yourself on the seat belts.

The lightning had been going for sometime without thunder. I know where I grew up we called it “heat lightning”, just because it usually proceeded a doozy of a thunderstorm on hot evenings. And it was no different last night. I heard the rain coming up the canal just in time to race through the boat and shut all of the open windows before it crashed down on top of the boat, like someone spilling marbles from 1000 feet up. (Hard rain is a noisy affair on Galileo.)

Then the thunder started in earnest, accompanying the constant illumination of the lightning. It was mostly ignorable; I was reading a book and had the television on for company. Ftn’s deplorable “Most Haunted” series was on, complete with hysterical female host and extremely camp “spiritual medium”. I wasn’t particularly paying attention to the show but just as the resident of a “haunted house” was explaining that her television set mysteriously went on and off at night, a massive bolt of lightning fell nearby followed by an almighty thunderclap that knocked out the electricity to the marina. I laughed out loud.

But oh, my laughter rang hollow in my ears when I realized I was not only sitting in darkness, but that I was not alone. I had company. And it had more legs than a kick line at Radio City Music Hall.

The open windows on the boat draw in the wrong crowd; mosquitoes, moths, Daddy Long Legs and other mischievous and anti-social flying things whose only purpose seems to be dining upon us or trying to invade various exposed orifices while we sleep. For this reason, we let spiders stay. Sure, they get cheeky now and again, trying to spin a web across the bathroom door or in the middle of the kitchen, hoping to pull off a serious spider coup-de-tat, but for the most part, they stay out of our way and munch mainly upon things that annoy us. However, they have a rather unpleasant habit of growing larger.

Entering the bedroom lit only by the lights powered by the boat’s battery, I discovered, to my horror, 3 spiders hanging directly above the bed; all larger than a 50p piece. They looked to be family, all with identical markings, looking as if they were perhaps attempting to perform some feat of aerial acrobatics involving a very small trapeze. (Hurry, hurry hurry, step right up! Come and see the Amazing Flying Arachnid Brothers!) The shadows from the harsh lighting made them look all the more leggy.

Spiders don’t bug me too much, as long as they’re small, but these guys exceeded the maximum size allowable indoors, so I went to get a glass to turn them out.

The first two came quietly with a minimum amount of protest (“It’s a fair cop,” they seemed to say, “I am a bit of a whopper.”) but the third staged a daring drop onto the duvet (nightmare scenario) leapt over the side and scuttled into the closet. (another nightmare scenario. No one wants a spider in their pants.) Luckily, he chose The Rock Star’s shoe to conceal himself in which was easily upended out the bedroom window. He spidered away in the darkness, sulking.

Having triumphed over the creepy trio, I turned to find a much smaller spider moving as fast as he could toward the window.

“Don’t get any ideas.” I told him.

5.48pm- Just as a footnote...this is how NOT to get rid of spiders in your home.