When is rains in Sydney it really RAINS!!  I was just on my way out to the gym this evening and as I grabbed the keys and ran out the kitchen door I was suddenly stopped in my tracks by the rain!!  Not because I am afraid of getting wet (ok, well maybe a little) but because I have learnt that the scary and deadly funnel web spiders a.) love rain b.) get washed out of their burrows when it rains so are more likely to be wondering around and c.) come out in the dark to hunt!  Check on all three of these, so I head back into the house and walk the long way around to the car, grabbing a torch on my way out (which also just happened to be a transformer) so that I can check where I am walking, just incase I meet anything I don’t want to.  This may seems a little crazy but it’s one of the many rituals I have become accustomed to since moving to Australia – and all because of the spiders!!!

No! They do NOT enhance the view!!
Here are a few rituals I have become accustomed to since we moved:

1.  Before putting any shoes on – tip them upside down and shake!!   Master J has become very good at planting plastic spiders inside wellie boots – gets me EVERY TIME!!  I think I’ll need to lie down in a dark room to recover the time a real spider falls out.

2.  I absolutely HATE spider webs.  They are everywhere and i swear they just appear out of nowhere!  Some of them are pretty spectacular I’ll admit, but it still doesn’t mean I have to like them.  I have kinda got used to seeing the huge ones fairly high up on trees or railings with those enormous yellow legged spiders sitting in the middle of them.  So far I have never seen one of those spiders actually move, so as long as I can see them I’m ok.  What gets me are the webs that you can’t see in the bright sunlight.  I have walked straight into a few and the reactions is always the same – sheer panic!! Arms flying in the air, hair shaking, legs jumping up and down, cold sweats……… it’s the spider dance (please try not to laugh – I’m sure you’ll all be same!!)  I can feel the web on my face and and I am terrified one of those big spiders will have got caught in my hair or is crawling down my arm.  So my defence now is to walk with a stick out in front of me, to break any webs before walking into them.  Don’t worry, I try not to do this out in public but ALWAYS in my garden!!  I have a stick at every door (we have 3) and I wave it around in front of me whenever I go outside.  So normal has this become that the kids don’t even think I’m crazy!!  I’m sure I must look like a deluded blind person by any onlookers who happen to walk by.   Mother Nature is probably frowning down on me right now!! (or laughing – who know!).

The one with the yellow legs!
3.  The laundry! – A task I have to do most days has also got to be done with the utmost care.  Our laundry room is outside, so before I even go out to it I have to check my shoes and put them on (especially after rain).  I then wave my stick around (with a pile of washing under my arm) and set off down the short path at the side of the house.  The light switch is on the inside of the laundry room wall which poses a problem……… I won’t go inside without the light on (this room is exposed to the garden so anything could be in there) and I can’t see the light switch to switch it on.  I am too terrified to put my arm around and “pat the wall” to find it in case I touch something scary.  So my treasured spider stick comes in handy once again!!!!  Everyone here keeps telling me how huntsman spiders do not have webs and they just sit on walls.  They are also the size of my hand (so I’m told).  I have not yet come across one but I know it is only a matter of time, which is why it is very important to keep my stick with me at all times!  The day I see one of those on the laundry room wall will be the another day where I will have to lie down in a dark room to recover!!!
Can you see how big t hose webs are??  And how well hidden they are too!!!!

4.  The funnel web spider……….if you google it, it will tell you it is one of the most deadly spiders in the world and can kill a human in less than an hour if a bite is untreated!!  This little bugger scares the shit out of me!  Excuse my language but imagine having him hanging out in your back garden????  It was Easter Sunday when I realised just how careful we have to be.  I was was supposed to hide the eggs in the garden on Saturday night but it was raining and I didn’t fancy getting wet, so I left it for Sunday morning.  Mr D was entertaining two excited kiddies and as I stepped out the back door, I happened to look into the recycling bucket and noticed a “not so nice” looking spider.   Instantly I got cold sweats (I can’t help it).  I shout over to Mr D to come and dispose of it quickly before it gets out.  He takes one look and says “I think that’s a bad one!!!”  Oh great!!  Off I go to get the book and we identify it as the funnel web!!  Slight panic when we realise just how deadly it is. And it’s just sitting there at our feet!!!  

How scary does he look?

We moved the bucket and it sprung to it’s feet rearing it’s fangs up -Holy Shit is all I could muster!! (sorry again for the language) “Get rid of it, do something QUICK!!!” I yell to Mr D  “Wait a minute, let me just get a few photos” is his replies!  Mmmmm, I won’t repeat my response!! Anyway, Mr funnel web did not last much longer than that thankfully!!  

A few days later we paid a visit to the Reptile Park and one of the ‘crazy’ rangers there gave a demonstration on how to ‘catch’ the funnel web.  All you have to do is get an empty jar and a piece of paper – coax the spider into the jar, slide the paper underneath so you can turn the jar up and then pop the lid on.  Simples!!  YEAH RIGHT!!  I will be standing up on a table if I saw one in the house, not least trying to coax it into a jar!!  He then proceeded to tell us that once you have caught it you have to drive it to the nearest hospital and hand it in so that they can extract the venom to make the anti-venom!!  Something which is apparently very important.  OMG, if catching it isn’t bad enough – I am then supposed to have it in the car with me whilst I drive to the hospital?????  Fat chance!!!!!

So anyway, as you can tell, my spider phobia is getting much better I think and as long as we don’t meet in a dark laundry room – or at all, we’ll all be fine!!

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