Sunday 8 November 2009

The Last of Old Harrah

You have been patient my here goes.

Yes. This story involves me mercilessly killing a spider; so best that you mentally prepare yourself now. Not that I'm necessarily an arachnophobe...but I certainly wouldn't ever touch one. The household is full of family members who are arachnophobes though and it's muggins here who is called upon to terminate with extreme prejudice. Why not just put 'em outside, I hear you ask. Well, I'm pretty sure that the British house spider isn't designed for outdoor life and wouldn't last long anyway. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Oh yeah...and the other thing you need to know is that the Fortean Times message board has a thread about spiders psychically communing with away we go.

Last summer we stayed at a friends beautiful thatched cottage in Wiltshire...several days into the holiday my wife called my down to the hallway and said words to the effect of 'That has to die' as she pointed to the largest house spider I have ever seen as it ambled slowly in the direction of the under stairs pantry. Ambling is uncharacteristic of the species but this thing was frickin' huge - looked like it was four and a half inches across (maybe more). It is looked like it was changing course for the lounge where the kids were watching The Brave and the Bold. I took off my blue suede slipper (indicative of both middle age and an admiration of Elvis Presley) and whacked it. Just as I brought the slipper down the following thought (swear to God) popped into my head - "I've got a name, you know!" And then it was dead. I cleared up the mess and wondered why I suddenly thought of/or rather 'heard' the spider claim to have a name. Just pangs of guilt perhaps.

Our good friend Paul - the owner - dropped by later in the week. "What was the name of that giant spider that used to live in your pantry," I asked.

"Used to?," said Paul. "That was Old Harrah."

The spider had been right, he did have a name.

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