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Thursday, 20 October 2011

My New Roomie

A cute flowerThe room is dark, lit only by the outside lights. Inception is playing on my laptop for the umpteenth time and the remnants of a bowl of popcorn sit next to me. It’s been a long day and I’m tired. It’s also hot but the ubiquitous mosquitoes mean I’m in jeans and long sleeved T. Suddenly my attention is jerked away from Leonardo DeCaprio and is focused solely on the new arrival, Timmy. I saw Timmy arrive out of the corner of my eye but he’s hard to see in this light. So I decide to get up and turn on the light so that we can get properly acquainted. Timmy doesn’t seem to mind the light and continues to stand next to the coffee table. I have to get closer for a better look. Timmy is without doubt, the ugliest, hairiest and biggest damn spider I have ever met! Timmy the tarantula has way too many eyes and it’s got fangs for heavens sake. Fangs I tell you!! There’s only one thing for it, Timmy’s got to die!

At this stage of my life in Africa I’m used to uninvited guests. You get kind of used to it after a year involving snakes, spiders, bees, cockroaches, scorpions, frogs, giant arm-nibbling rats and heaven knows what else in and around the house. But come on, this thing is just ridiculous. I just stare at it in awe and unadulterated terror until I remember, it’s got to die…

Now as is the way, I just happened to have a wooden chopping board next to me; just the thing for squashing the world biggest, ugliest and deadliest (in my imagination anyway) Irishman eating spider in the world. So I pick up the board and tentatively move it into place over Timmy’s head, like a guillotine being raised in readiness for execution. I open my hands and the board falls. Timmy jumps out of the way and the neighbours hear a hysterical teenage girl screaming in the vicinity of my house. Timmy can jump! I’m perched on top of the chair wondering how I’m going to retrieve the stupid chopping board without losing a hand. I gingerly move the leg of the table towards Timmy and coax him back towards the direction he came from. He gets the hint and saunters across to the leg of the chair adjacent to mine. I reach for the board with all of my attention fixed squarely on Timmys legs. One jerk from any of his EIGHT gargantuan legs and I’m out of here faster than the Road Runner, be-beep. I feel for the board, clasp it and tear my hand back. Now I need to persuade Timmy out into the open and try again. I move the leg of the adjacent chair and he walks out a couple of centimetres. Again I lift the board, again I hold my breath, again the board falls and again Timmy escapes out from under the board. I’m beginning to hear him laughing at me and cackling “You think a puny little chopping board (weighing 700g) can harm me? Wahahahahahahaaaaaa” A not so cute spiderIn reality Timmy decides that it’s all a bit hectic out here in the open and retreats back to under the far couch where I can only assume he came from. I abandon the useless chopping board and get the axe. No, actually I get the biggest saucepan I can find. If I can’t kill it then I’ll trap it. So I brave the floor (after clambering over chairs for as long as possible and enter the kitchen, keeping an eye on the last known whereabouts of Timmy. I emerge, saucepan in hand and (mock) bravery in my heart. I inch towards the couch, heart pounding in ears, adrenaline thumping through my veins and Leo long forgotten. But Timmy’s disappeared. Oh, of course Timmy has disappeared. I bet he hasn’t gone far though, certainly not far enough!

And so Timmy vanished, “like a fart in the wind”. I couldn’t see him under the couch, he wasn’t around the curtains and my torch light couldn’t locate him. He’s gone to live on in folklore, pub stories and my nightmares while I was left to return to Leo though I spent most of the rest of the film and night for that matter in (understandable) paranoia. The following morning I checked all around the area for him but still nothing. So we will live on in harmony until he appears and scares the bejesus out of me again. I’m kind of glad though because I don’t like killing things (with the exception of mosquitoes and cockroaches) even when they’re trying to turn my habitat into theirs. It turns out Timmy is a jumping spider. You can get full details on the family here and see lots of shiver-inducing photos of the species here. Of course it’s totally harmless but just you try telling yourself that when you’re looking at the ugliest, hairiest and biggest damn spider you’ve ever seen.

Your failed spider assassin in the middle of nowhere

(Image credits: Opo Terser via: villageofjoy.com )


  1. Umm, you really are such a girl! ... if it's a jumping spider then surely the name should be "Tiny Timmy". Even the largest is only a couple centrimetres and, AFAIK, you don't get those in Africa!

  2. Sorry Kerryn, I forgot to ask Timmy was his family and species were while I was shrieking like a girl. This was the closest I could find to the very vivid image I had in my mind. Now are you going to do this over every story I tell in the pub? Because that's not going to get at all annoying...