Friday, 8 June 2018

I've spent a week slaughtering daddy longlegs

I have an aversion to spiders, moths, wasps, cockroaches and stag-beetles. Like most people, I'm generally fine with bumblebees, ladybirds and "cute" beetles - e.g. green, armour-plated shield bugs. If it looks pretty or amusing, I can live with it. I'm not fond of flies, but I don't have any fear of them - they're just annoying. But when it comes to daddy longlegs, I'm a fullblown phobic - these ugly, gangly, amorphous, pointless bastards induce panic-attacks. Once I'm aware there's one in the room, I have to leave or kill it...

...The first sign of my utterly irrational fear of these harmless creatures (harmless to humans, but their larva chow down on crops) was around the age of twelve, while staying in my father's house next to the Ørland air force base in Norway. It was sun-drenched mid-summer, the house stood atop a bit of a hill, and, every night my bedroom would be invaded by dozens of daddy longlegs, and I found it impossible to go to sleep until I'd smashed the living crap out of each and every one of the blighters. 

I mention this now, because we're just back from a week in Cornwall, where the days were colder than in the London (which I welcomed), while the nights were not only hotter, but still and muggy (which I did not welcome, especially as I had foolishly neglected to take a fan down with me). Even with the curtains shut and carefully arranged to keep possible entry points down to an absolute minimum, one of these spindly bastards would somehow squeeze its way into our redoubt within two minutes. Wham! Five minutes later, there'd be another of the creeps bouncing around ineffectually on the ceiling (Thwack!) or flying straight into my face. Splat! One night, i glanced up from my book to discover four of them arsing around above my head (Smats! Wallop! Crump! Blat!). So I'd shut the window, only opening it when the room had turned into the sweat box from Bridge on the River Kwai - whereupon the whole pantomime (with me as the clown) would recommence. 

I know it's ridiculous and shameful to be so upset by these creatures, and I'm aware that many of you reading this live in parts of the world where the insects can be ten times the size and fatal to man (I've no idea how you can bear it). And, to make it worse, my wife is incredibly relaxed about insects - she's not only a proficient bee-whisperer, but she will carefully cup a moth or a Crane fly in her hands and gently remove it from the room: I've even seen her do the same with spiders (although not the big sods who occasionally emerge from under the television unit in our sitting room and scuttle towards the couch we're sitting on - we both run out of the room shrieking when that happens). It's not nice to see the sheer contempt in the eyes of one's wife facing the unpalatable fact that she's married to a pathetic coward. 

As it's a bit late to cure myself of this hysterical reaction to daddy longlegs, does anybody have a clue - apart from closing doors and windows - how to dissuade the beasts from entering one's bedroom at night? At the very least it would mean not having to start the day like some serial-killer carefully erasing all trace of the previous night's murderous frenzy. 

No comments:

Post a comment