It’s been a fraught week for Catherine, she had an infestation in her lounge. I feel very sorry for her because I’m quite the arachnophobe myself, so I can imagine what she’s been through.
Apparently it all started on Sunday evening during Antiques Roadshow; one of the experts was about to tell a woman that the gaudy bit of old tat that she bought at a boot fair for 50p, was actually a gold Victorian bracelet with a sapphire feature. Catherine is quite a collector of old tat herself and she was just about to spring upstairs to check in her jewellery box when an enormous spider made its way across the rug.
‘It was the size of a vole’, Tom looked as incredulous as I felt at this piece of information, ’and what’s more it didn’t scurry like they normally do, it sauntered, as if it was going for an evening stroll’.
The image of the spider was coming clearer in my mind and I started breaking out in a cold sweat.
‘It had a pouch like thing on its back, I think it was a mother.’
This did allow the spider at least 35% of my sympathy vote, especially when Catherine went onto explain that she whacked it with her slipper, not squashing it flat, she explained, but certainly sending it flying across the room. I don’t agree with killing spiders, would prefer to hoover them up, leaving them to survive on dust and toe nail clippings, like a mini health farm. Catherine wasn’t sure at that point if she had killed it so I gave her the benefit of the doubt.
On Monday morning the screams coming from Catherine’s house did confirm that whether the spider had died or not, she had certainly been a mother and her offspring had taken up residence on the sofa. A few men from the street rushed out to see what all the fuss was about, Reg even ventured into her home to ascertain the size of the problem and to come up with a remedy.
The vacuum cleaner was chosen as the best course of action as none of the men could face going in and removing them by hand, Catherine was still in a state of hysteria so Jacinta offered to do the hovering and to empty the dust bag into the garden, thus giving the poor creatures some semblance of a future. Reg advised also putting conkers in the corners of the room, this he assured Catherine, would keep any rogue babies away. Again Jacinta came to the rescue, stealing some of the conkers that her son had kept from the previous season.
On Tuesday Catherine was in floods of tears as she explained to Ian that rather than repel them, the conkers appeared to have encouraged another onset of spiders, in fact two were sitting on top of one, many more had formed a circle around, ‘it’s like Stone Henge on Solstice day ’, said an increasingly dramatic Catherine.
There was much discussion in the Spar about the best way to deal with the infestation, Tom was of the view that she should put either a bird in the room or a couple of toads, he felt that turning to nature would be the best way forward.
Harry came up with the idea that releasing a large number of flies would send the spiders into a frenzy of excitement and that they would die of exhaustion. Although this was clearly the most ludicrous idea, it was my favourite and I hoped that Catherine would give it a go, sadly she had instead bought an insect killing spray, which she intended to flood the room with that evening.
The next morning Catherine looked like she was close to breaking point as she stumbled along the road, her hair unkempt and looking like she hadn’t slept for several nights. The spray had no effect on the spiders, in fact if anything there appeared to be more. Ken came across her as he was opening up for the day and took her in, offering a cup of coffee and a shoulder to cry on. As with most things Ken told Catherine not to worry, he felt he could offer a solution that was sure to work.
Leaving a while later with a portable record player and some Madonna records, Catherine headed home. My heart went out to her, I had no idea what his ploy was, but if she had fallen for one of Ken’s plans than she must be in a worst state than any of us could imagine.That night ‘Like A Virgin’, ‘Holiday’ and ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ rang out from Catherine’s house, whilst she sat in the pub having a quiet drink with Ken. The next day looking like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders Catherine reported that the spiders had gone, and as she said to Jacinta, ‘Well they do say that music is power’.
I don’t think anyone does say this, but if she thinks it works then I am very pleased for her, I just hope the spiders haven’t defected to my house, I’m not sure that Kate Bush would have the same effect.