Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Progress was not helped by the spider running full tilt across the roof of the van. I screamed. My mate gave a running commentary on the spider’s progress which made me scream even more. Finally I pulled into a layby and leapt out of the van, shaking, while my friend flipped the spider into a carrier bag full of CDs and then out of the window (I hoped). Gingerly we returned to the van, peered this way and that, asked Moll if the spider had gone. She said yes (or something similar), so we got back in, my mate laughing uproariously. “I’ve never seen anyone scream like you did,” he cried. “I’d pay to see that.” Bastard. Never fear, he will get his comeuppance.
Anyway, that was about 6 weeks ago and since then I’ve driven several hundred miles without thinking about it. Then a few weeks ago I was driving into Falmouth when the sun came out so I pulled down the visor on the driver’s side – and out scuttled Mr Spider. Pure adrenaline rushed through my veins and I screamed. It jumped onto my lap, then onto my legs and onto the floor. By this time my heart was pounding so loudly I thought it might jump out and I swerved, luckily not hitting anyone, stopped, in the middle of the high street and jumped out. I heaved the mat from under the pedals and the spider scuttled round in circles. I tried to flick it out with an envelope, and it retreated up under the steering column.
By this time a queue of cars had formed but I was not getting back into that van – and then a kindly fellow checked the van over for me, told me it had probably gone up behind the steering wheel, as I feared. There was nothing for it but to get in that van and carry on.
I walked Moll, laughing (albeit somewhat hysterically), knowing what my friend would say had he been there. And then I called in to see my brother in law who listened to my tale, a gentle smile growing as his blue eyes twinkled. “You could get some insect spray,” he said eventually. “But be careful.” And the smile fell off his face. “You mustn’t get distracted by spiders. You might have an accident.”
And he’s right. If that had happened driving up to Devon I’m sure I would have crashed the van. So I bought some insect spray on the way home, squirted it up the steering column (hoping to god this doesn’t muck up the electrics) and waited to see if there was a dead spider in the morning.
There wasn’t. Worse still, when I told my friend he looked at me. “I wonder what it’s eating?” he said, eyes gleaming. “It’s probably huge by now.” I thought of the supply of biscuits I keep in the glove compartment to ward off low blood sugar levels. I thought of that spider, magnified several times over. And I thought of my next trip to Devon, this weekend.
The van’s booked in for a thorough clean today. I’m not risking another meeting with Mr Spider half way up the motorway…