According to yesterday's Times, 37% of us are scared of spiders. It doesn't say the percentage of men to women but I suspect (and hope actually, because I rely on the farmer to protect me!) this particular fear applies more to women than to men.
I put my fear down to a childhood deep in the Fens of Lincolnshire, before the days of waterclosets, when we had a 'lav' at the bottom of the garden, which was emptied every Saturday morning in a kind of ritual by my Father. (emptied under a large damson tree actually, and we had a fantastic crop of damsons!) This building was inhabited by a particular kind of spider. It had a largish, spherical body and eight long, very spindly legs and at this time of year the corners used to be full of them. I hated them, although they never moved or showed the slightest inclination to be interested in me. I just used to get out of there a.s.a.p.
There is, apparently, a new app - 'spider in da house' which means you can sit in front of the television of an evening and every time one of the gigantic things which scoot a bout at this time of year scampers across the room, the app allows you to identify it.
No thanks, I prefer to let out a scream, pull my legs up on to the settee and allow the dog to chase it (she never catches it). I do, however, have a small pocket of courage. I do subscribe to my father's old ethic - 'if you want to live and thrive, let all spiders run alive', so I am brave enough to resort to the postcard and glass method in a dire emergency. Then, eyes averted, dark or light outside, wet or fine, cold - a foot of snow - or warm I will put the glass on the floor, shove the postcard underneath and then carefully carry it outside. At least I am giving it a sporting chance.
As for undergoing a course at London Zoo (as did Hilary Rose, the writer of the article in the Times) no thanks. Mice I can tolerate (just), Daddy Long Legs (as long as they don't come too near and catch me with those spindly legs, even earwigs (although that is cutting it a bit fine) but I will leave spiders to my brave hero of a farmer, who can pick them up gently and carry them outside with no trouble at all.