Introduction and warning
Travelling in the hotter parts of the world brings you mano a monster with all sorts of creatures that you’re not used to. I am an Englishman and normally to be found in the company of nothing more exciting than a fox or a cow. On my travels, I was suddenly in contact with everything from camels to snakes to sharks, which threatened to knock me right out of my comfort zone. However, nothing prepared me to face the creature I am normally highly adverse to…
You see, I left England with one particular animal dislike: that of spiders.
I’m not sure what they have done to deserve it, but it seems almost instinctive. I just cant stand them. They give me the impression of being unhappy, of being mean, of being violent. Spiders in the UK may not be able to envenomate a human, but that doesn’t stop them from trying. I have been bitten by an English spider, and it was a little shocking to actually feel it. I hoped I wouldn’t be bitten by any on my travels. I traced this fear back to my early teens where a nest of the little blighters was on the wall in my room and I awoke to find myself crawling with them. But, if I am honest with myself, it goes back even further than that. I vividly recall, at the age of 6, bursting into tears when my mother gave me a wind-up spider as a Christmas present. It is amazing that a childhood memory can trigger a certain response; in I find myself killing them when they are present. In England this usually amounts to a fencing lunge while wearing shoes, or the services of a cat, but then English spiders are generally small – what is to be done when the spider is bigger?
The correct way to conquer a fear is to face it down. This worked with my childhood fear of the dark (cured by locking myself in the airing cupboard) and with my fear of heights (by my jumping off the highest bungee in New Zealand). Sitting here now, can I say the following tales have cured me of a fear of spiders? I will leave that to the end of the article, after my memory has disgorged these scuttling 8-legged tales.