I don’t know why I’ve always been scared of spiders
I blame my grandmother actually. she was absolutely terrified and if she even thought she glimpsed one she would scream run out of the room and not go back in until grandpa hoovered.
I’m not quite as bad as I used to be, well until today that is…. sort of OK when I’ve seen one. I’ve not run out of the room screaming at any rate. So, when I thought about getting this yacht as a retirement present for myself, and somebody warned me that there would be spiders on board, I thought, ‘yeah, I can cope with that”.
Choosing her was a nightmare. I looked at big ones, and small ones. Round ones and long ones. I measured outsides, and insides. I contacted marinas and looked the sizes of berths… they were either all too big or too small. I had just about given up when in the back of a ad paper I spotted a little white boat. She’s not huge but she just seemed to stand out and say, “you want me”. So I put in a phone call and within 2 hours she was mine.
When I went to take a look at her I saw not a spider. Not one single spider. I assume now of course that they cleaned her off before I got there. However, never having had a boat before I couldn’t have known that.
I placed some small knick-knacks on board just to sort of make her mine, and then I went home for the night, ready to get up early in the morning… go down and give her a good clean, and maybe take her out for a short trip. I went to bed feeling all posh! Me, a boat owner!
The next day I got up early as promised, grabbed a load of cleaning tools. I packed some more trinkets also, and made my way to the harbour. Dropping into the marina store on the way through, I picked up a new anchor chain…. I had noticed that the other one was a bit old… Rainbow ropes (not that I needed them, just that I like the look of them) and I a short hose. They had water next to the boat that you can tap through so I thought I’d give her a wash.
You have to unpop the canopy to get onto the boat using these huge pop studs. Really fiddly and hard if you’re not used to them, which I wasn’t. Once you do that you’ll end up in the cockpit. To the left is the door to go into the cabin. As I got the last of the pop studs unpopped something fell on my hand. I shrieked and jumped and it fell onto the quay. A small black furry spider scuttled away. I shivered and pulled back the canopy where about 200 of the little blighters fell on me, running left and right, trying to get out of my way. I flailed my arms every which way, shouting, and crying out “get off me you little bastards!!”
Hearing loud guffaws, I stood up and turned around, still brushing them out of my hair, to see an old guy from the boat next door standing on his deck, hands on his hips, roaring with laughter.
“You’ll have to get used to that, my lovely”, he said. “It’s part and parcel of having a boat. I use chestnuts.”. And without saying another word he ducked down into his cabin and disappeared.
And so began a morning routine
I would go to the boat… disturb 100 spiders. Sweep them off the boat to the sounds of muffled laughter, go out for a short trip, come back and leave it for the spiders again to return. I often wonder what my Grandma would have done if she’d been there.
One day I was so fed up with them that I started hosing them away.
And then I met Fred
Fred was different from the rest. Fred didn’t run when I started sweeping. Fred would sit on the cockpit dashboard glaring at me. Fred was an unafraid spider.
Fred seem to have an army, or at any rate a group of subservient spiders who would hang around him and obey him. Pretty sure now, after recent events, that I wasn’t imagining it.
The first few days he would slowly amble off… jump over the side of the boat onto the quay and I could see him scurry away with his little followers after him. But then he stopped running away and would just stare at me accusingly.
In the end I got so scared of Fred that, although I got rid of all the other spiders, I would quite often leave him sitting on the dash and go out for a ride with him still there. In the end I would even talk to him and would offer him pieces of my sandwich. But he just sat there staring at me. not moving.
One day I got on the boat and I couldn’t see him. As usual I brushed all the others off and set off on my travels. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye I spotted movement on the canopy above, and there he was, over my head about to drop on me. I screamed! I stopped the engine, and my boat drifted as I fled into the cabin, slamming the door behind me.
After an hour I felt a little bit silly and slowly opened the door. Peering around I couldn’t see him started up the engine and made my way quickly back to port uneventfully.
For the next few days I didn’t bother going back. The fun been taken out of it. I couldn’t be bothered.
But then I realised I was really being very stupid. I was allowing one spider (ok thousands) to chase me off my boat that cost me a lot of money and that was my retirement! I’d never even slept on board because of the fear of the spiders! Ridiculous!
So packed up an overnight bag and got some food together with some spare gas for the cooker. I decided that I was going to go out and spend the night on the water…. But I was going to make sure Fred got off the boat before I went.
The hardware store has these strange spider catchers. Like a long stick with a box on the end. You pop it over the spider and slide a lid underneath it which closes the box. Then you take it out and tip it…. or whatever you want to do with it.
So I bought one!
Armed, I headed for my boat.
When I got there, I couldn’t find any spiders! Not even one of the little ones. For the first time ever, there was not a spider to be seen.
I stowed away my stuff and set off in high spirits.
A few hours later I was sitting on board, having eaten, looking out at the moon rising. All I could hear was the lapping of the water around the sides of my boat. I went into the cabin and grabbed my book that I’d brought. It was time to try Game of Thrones. I’ve never watched it and I thought I’d read the books instead. Although I’d only read half a chapter it was looking like I was going to really enjoy it.
It was getting chilly and the light on board too dim, so I pulled up the canopy and decided to sit in the cabin instead.
It must have been an hour later…. what, that would be about three hours ago now? I heard strange scuffling noises coming from the stern. I took a quick look out of the cabin door window but I couldn’t see anything and to tell you the truth I got a little bit spooked and decided I wasn’t going to be one of those women that investigated. in fact it was a little bit scary on board a boat out in the middle of nowhere on my own, at night. This perhaps wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had.
things went quiet for a moment and I started to relax when all of a sudden there was a thud.
No I was definitely not going outside!
Strange slippy sliding noises all around the boat. Must have been at least half an hour of me sitting there frozen… too afraid to move. Then silence.
To be honest I couldn’t even hear the water lapping against the sides of the boats now it was so quiet.
I quietly got up and opened one of the curtains on a window. It looks like there was a material outside covering the whole window …. white. it looks like a really really thick spiders web. But it couldn’t be!
Creeping to the cabin door window I peeked out to see spiders. Hundreds of spiders sitting in my cockpit looking back at me. They saw me looking and quietly moved aside as one very large fluffy spider walked to the front.
So now I sit here in my cabin alone. There is no light as my battery ran out and I can’t actually see much from the windows.
I have no radio. There is no signal on my mobile phone. And my food will probably run out by tomorrow.
I really don’t like spiders. I’m little bit scared of them. I think I’d like to go home now.