The fact I can remove spiders is a big breakthrough; it wasn’t always the case. Now, I can put a glass over them, slide a leaflet that’s fallen out of a magazine (see, they do have a purpose) under them, and set them free. I am able to mock those afflicted with arachnophobia.
I was once a sufferer myself. As a child, I was petrified of spiders, although curiously, I was a big fan of Itsy and Bitsy on TV. Over the years, I was able to convince myself that it was natural and right to fear spiders – it was a ‘primitive memory’ of when the creepy little fellas could really do you harm. When I moved to Cambridgeshire in the hot summer of 1995, the spiders were immense. They had, as my news editor at the time said, knees and ankles.
Gradually, though, I acclimatised myself to spiders outside. My theory was that I had plenty of space to run away from them. In the last few years, I have reached the stage where I have desensitised myself to them inside too.
However, I curse people who put big pictures of spiders in newspapers and magazines to make me jump when I turn the page, and I still occasionally awake with a start in the early hours convinced there is a spider on my pillow. I can’t do foreign, furry spiders either, but I reckon I have the domestic fellas sussed …