In case you want to know what happened to the eight-legged monster that invaded our little sanctuary on Thursday, here it is.
When I returned home from work, “Bertha” was still huddled in the same corner of the hallway.
Yes, I named her “Bertha”. Firstly, because her big round belly made me suspect she might be pregnant and about to give “birth”. And secondly because I find that if you give a creature you fear a friendly-sounding name, then it may not be quite so frightening anymore.
OK, I admit that really didn’t work this time. I still got cold shivers and a wave of nausea when I saw her legs move.
Anyhow, I peered over the fence to see whether our neighbours on either side were back from work. Alas, they weren’t.
So I waited, trotting up and down the passage a few times, to double-check that Bertha was still in situ, until Hubbs came home.
Then we worked out a plan of action. Killing Bertha was definitely not an option; we had to evict her without hurting her. So we located a vaguely-see-through tupperware box that was big enough to house Bertha, but not so big that Hubby couldn’t grasp it firmly in one outstretched hand. I dug around for a piece of cardboard and a piece of hardboard to cover it safely.
As Bertha was still huddling right in the corner, there was no way Hubbs could put the box over her. So he used a broom to nudge her gently down the wall. She was surprisingly lethargic and just didn’t want to budge. Eventually, we affixed a small, rustling piece of paper to the end of the broomstick, and touched her legs gently and carefully with this until she reluctant crept down from her perch. We really didn’t want to make her angry (I still have this image in my mind that spiders can launch themselves off a vertical wall, spin around in mid-air and land in your face…. clearly, I’ve seen too many CGI animated movies!).
It was at this stage, when Bertha had stretched out all her legs fully along the wall, looking terrifyingly large, that my legs became quite wobbly.
Fortunately, Hubbs had enough courage for both of us.
Balancing on a wobbly chair, he slowly … and … oh … so… carefully … placed the tupperware container over her. I passed him the thin square of cardboard, which he carefully slid in underneath. Bertha meanwhile was scrambling frantically around the box, which was freaking me out completely.
Hubbs, though, was calmness personified.
He slid the sturdy piece of hardboard underneath the thin cardboard, and lifted the whole thing off the wall. Bertha was now hanging upside down in the tupperware box, so that we could see the bottom of her tummy turned up.
And then we walked down a couple of streets in the neighbourhood, looking for a suitably wild spot with a dense growth of trees and bushes, but not right next to any houses. I think we got a few odd looks from passing drivers. But we finally found a suitable spot, so we placed the box down on the grass, lifted off the lid, and waited.
Bertha walked around the box, a little bewildered perhaps by the new environment, and we held our breath as she finally scrambled over the edge and disappeared in the long, thick grass, one elongated leg at a time.
I hope she finds peace in her new nest. And that she doesn’t freak out any other home owners.
Oh – and that she (or her brood) don’t find the way back to our house!
P.S. Thank you to all my dear friends across the world (some of them arachnophobes too) who sent me words of comfort and encouragement. You are an awesome bunch!