Donald MacInnes: 'Money's no object in ejecting the eight-legged freaks'

Donald this week tackled a spider the size of a McDonald's quarter pounder

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The Independent Online

As I have mentioned before, I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with those who wish to place a price tag on those things which possess no intrinsic value. Case in point: the toweringly clever Harry Hill once suggested that, were a wasp to fly past a laser checkout reader in Tesco, its striped abdomen would fool the equipment into thinking it was a bar code. Emitting a regulation beep, the LED readout would then confirm: "Wasp: 11p."

Personally, I wouldn't give you tuppence for one of those nasty, fight-picking little knaves, but Harry's observation does open one or two doors of perception. And, handily, one of those doors happens to open into my living room, which this week became a battleground between, on the one side: me, my wife and our baby boy, and on the other, a spider the size of a McDonald's quarter pounder.

So to the intrinsic value of said eight-legged evil-doer. Or rather, the value of not having it around. As I must surely have mentioned before, I loathe and abhor spiders. Should one happen to enter my peripheral vision as I watch television, whether brazenly sashaying across the floor or abseiling down a wall, my ability to concentrate on the TV will be immediately degraded and my stress levels will make a break for the ceiling.

Thankfully, my wife feels the same way. Well, she is perhaps not quite as big a Jessie as I am, but she's no fan. So, as soon as it became clear that our house had been annexed by this unapologetic octo-beast, we agreed that something must be done. Online I found a spray which, apparently, makes spiders instantly pack their belongings inside a knotted spotty handkerchief on the end of a stick (if the picture on the front of the aerosol can was to be believed) and depart, never to be seen again. I went upstairs, got on my laptop and ordered it. I then reported back to headquarters. "Our troubles are over, honey," I said. "The spider deterrent is on its way." "How much was it?" she asked, not looking up from her book.

"Oh, you can't put a price on peace of mind," I said, gingerly creeping past the spider, which was busy on the ceiling, idly keying buttons on the TV remote control, which it had grabbed moments earlier. "How much?" my wife repeated, looking up from her book. "A tenner. Well, £9.99," I whispered, still not taking my eyes off the interloper. "A tenner!" she spluttered. "It'd better work!"

Thankfully, it seems to have done just that. The spray arrived the following day and I fumigated both our bedroom and the baby's. There has been no sign of any spiders in either room since. Although, in the case of the baby's room, I suspect the stench of reeking, befouled nappies is doing its bit to keep Itsy Bitsy Spider away… which makes me wonder with a shudder how badly our bedroom actually smells.

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