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Cheers - AE

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Australia's natural laxative.

Not being a blog about migrant's tales of living a new life Down Under I don't generally go in for true story 'it-really-happened-to-me' type posts. The odd anecdotal bit here and there if vaguely related to a blog post perhaps, but that's about it. But because it's nearly Christmas I'm going to do one just for a change.

For the first time in my life I have surfed the internet in my underpants, and it was a spider that made me do it. Now to be honest this story really isn't as bad as stumbling into the bog in the morning to find some Shelob wannabee sitting there grinning at you while wiping its arse with your bog paper, though apparently even that can happen.

You Got To Be Quick

All the same it is a toilet related spider story. Yesterday morning I stumbled into the bog for a private moment of deep contemplation to be followed alliteratively by a shower and shave. Without going into too many details, as I was sitting there a big shiny spider suddenly scuttled out from behind the sink and ran along the edge of the floor towards my throne. Spiders never used to bother me much back in Britain, and even here in Oz where there are plenty of genuinely dangerous spiders I'm prepared to leave the majority alone. But not when I've been awake for only ten minutes and not when I'm in the middle of a personal re-enactment of the Dambusters raid. Being barefoot I got a decent sized amount of toilet paper and waited until the little fucker was in foot range of the bog before quickly throwing it down on top of him and..... STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP. Which generated a response from the hitherto sleeping Mrs Exile.

"What the fuck are you doing in there?"

"Spider," I yelled back. "Not sure what kind."

"All that for a spider? Jesus Christ."

Okay, I can take a hint - harden the fuck up, Angry. Still, I didn't recognise the bastard and it didn't leave a business card, and I was consumed with curiosity about what would have happened if it had sunk its teeth into the end of my knob or something. So while the look of it was fresh in my mind, and having finished my immediate bathroom activity and associated tasks, I skipped the shower and shave bit and went straight to the computer to see if I could identify it, pausing only to pull on a pair of drawers for minimalist modesty.

And could I find a picture of what I'd just squashed? Could I fuck. Unfortunately the web is not the wonderful resource for absolutely any and all information you could possibly want, at least when it comes to Australian spiders. There is some fascinating stuff that would make any arachnophobe consider moving to the moon to get even further away from Australia. Jumping spiders, for example. I've seen these myself and while they're pretty small (and kind of cute as spiders go) the jumps come as a bit of a surprise, especially as the little sods appear to be absolutely fearless and tend to jump towards you... or at the finger you're using to point at the cute little spide-AAAAAAAAAAARRGH. But all I found out about what I'll call the Australian ExLax Spider is that it doesn't appear to be one of the most obviously dangerous ones. Having said that I also found out that while it's unusual for it to happen even common house spiders here can give you a bite that...
... may be quite painful and cause local swelling. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sweating and giddiness are occasionally recorded. In a few cases skin lesions (Necrotising Arachnidism) have developed after multiple bites.
So it doesn't have to be a redback or a funnelweb for it to be worth avoiding a bite to the bell end, and has been pointed out many years ago avoiding a spider bites to your manhood is potentially a good excuse for all sorts of things.

As a postscript I'll mention two things. First, the spider story is real and not just an excuse to put up a classic Billy Connolly wanking joke. And secondly about half an hour before I started typing this I remembered that last month I gave the outside of the house a bloody good soak of insect and spider barrier spray. Once sprayed on exterior surfaces this stuff sticks around for a few months and is supposed to both repel spiders and crawling insects and kill them if they're stupid enough to proceed. And it certainly seems to work because generally we find a few dead insects on the doorstep for a day or two after using it and then don't see anything that can't fly in for a good three or four months. So where did this bugger come from? I hope I just missed a bit while spraying or that maybe we've had enough rain recently to have started washing the barrier spray off already, because otherwise there's a less comforting possibility. Remember Alien? Remember how at the end the thing had killed everyone apart from Sigourney Weaver and the ship's cat? Remember how she and the audience all think she's escaped in the shuttle with the cat, and she's just getting ready to get into the suspended animation capsule when suddenly we find out that far from trapping it on the ship to be blown up she's only gone and sealed the fucking thing in the shuttle with her? So that leads me to wonder how all the spiders and things that are already inside the house when you use barrier spray are supposed to get out.

Fucking see if I buy any more of the stuff now.


Dick Puddlecote said...

Even being God knows how many thousands of miles away hasn't stopped me shifting uneasily reading that. Spiders are the main reason I will probably never bother popping over to see my uncle in Sydney.

Angry Exile said...

Oh dear, DP. Are you one of the ones I mentioned who'd consider moving to the moon to get further away from the spider infested nightmare that is Australia? Has to be said that some of the worst spiders live in Sydney, so that may be a wise choice. Funnel web spiders all have a dangerous bite but the Sydney species apparently is a nasty, foul tempered, vicious, aggressive little bastard and more inclined to bite than other types of funnel web. On the other hand four million people got up there this morning having not been killed in their sleep by spiders.

Oh, and that nightmare sitting on the bog roll in the picture? I admit the sight of those buggers makes me uncomfortable because of the sheer size of them. Being a Brit my mind just starts to scream that spiders have no right to be that big. But while they can bite enough to feel like a nasty wasp sting it seems they're far more partial to a bit of redback on toast. If the horrifying looking but fairly harmless spiders are happy to hunt and kill dangerous ones like redbacks I don't mind them being around. But they need to learnt to read Do Not Disturb signs.

JuliaM said...

*gibbers unintelligably at the sight of the Toilet Roll Beast*

I remember seeing a picture of some chap's wall clock with the tips of legs sticking out from under it. Equidistant. Amd it was a big clock...

Same species, I think. Huntsman?

Dick Puddlecote said...

Yes, I'm afraid I don't do spiders, AE. ;-)

My late grandparents had a funnel web that my Sydney-based uncle brought over years ago. It's the nearest I'm prepared to be to one, and it has to be dead.

And you mean that thing on the toilet roll isn't shopped?!?!

Angry Exile said...

DP, no, that's probably not pshopped. Looks like a Huntsman, as JuliaM guessed. I'm not sure how big they can get. Wikipedia reckons a foot across from the tip of one leg to the opposite, but that seems excessive and if true I imagine it's pretty unusual. Most people seem to describe them as being roughly hand sized, which fits in with the 2-3 I've seen and that fucker on the toilet roll.

JuliaM said...

Found it!

Australia Clock Spider

Angry Exile said...

Oooh, that's a biggie. The problem is that size they're a bit too big to simply hit without making a hell of a mess. What does that leave? Negotiated settlement?

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