Sunday, July 22, 2007

Close encounters of the critter kind

It's been a very busy and eventful day. We've been over to Lincoln to test drive and then buy a new (to us) car. On the waay home we decided to try and find somewhere to eat out, which proved to be more difficult than it really should. I'll save expanding on these for another post. What I want to write about now is what happened after we got home again.

It was around 8:30pm when we finally made it home (we'd been out since about 1pm) and we'd been home for about an hour when I remembered I had some fabrics that needed rinsing out. So I popped downstairs to the utility room. When I got down to the hallway I heard a funny noise coming from the direction of the back door. In the gloom I could see what looked like Smurf hunkered down behind a box in the corridor. I switched the light on and discovered that it wasn't Smurf at all. It was a duckling.

I called upstairs to Wookiee and asked him to come down and bring the back door key with him, then I grabbed a towel off the pile waiting to be laundered and gently captured the duckling for release back into the wild.

My original plan was to pop it onto our little pond to give it chance to recover and then make it's own way back down to the river, but I've recently been decomissioning the pond in preparation for filling it in completely, and once I got out there I realised there just wasn't enough water in it to keep the duckling safe from my cats. So I asked Wookiee to bring me my shoes (I was barefoot at this point) so I could take it all the way down to the river. As I was standing there slipping the shoes on, I looked down at the ducking and the towel and to my horror saw several long, black, hairy legs peeping over a fold in the towel. Now I have a lot of experience with crawlies of the 8-legged variety (too bloody much experience in my opinion) and recognised right away that this was one of our larger garden variety spider. We're talking about 2" across, which may not seem like a lot to those of you who live in parts of the world where tarantulas roam wild (you have my total sympathy Suz), but for the UK, that's big.

Once again I managed to hold it together enough to not just fling towel, spider and ducking away from me, and just exclaimed in such a way as to let Wookiee know that there was a spider in close proximity (something along the lines of Oh Jesus F-ing Christ! IIRC) and he managed to flick the spider away from me by pinging the towel sharply.

This taken care of I then proceeded to navigate the jungle wilderness that is our garden (the grass has only been cut once and it's back up to about 3 foot), and safely release the duckling back onto the river, where it paddled off cheeping for it's mum.

One might think that this was enough critter excitement for one day, but there was more to come later.

After Ewok had been put to bed, Wookiee decided to wander down to his swamp and then to bed, and I headed for the kitchen to get my bowl of cereal (for my supper) as I was opening the kitchen door I heard a voice from below calling me to come and deal with something else.

This one was a little easier. A poor wee field mousie that one of the cats had brought in. Totally unscathed and skittering around the hallway. We managed to corner it with some boxes and then I grabbed it by the tail and popped it out through the catflap to scurry to freedom.

Job done, I headed back upstairs and into the cloakroom to wash my hands. Lather, rinse, grab towel, pull towel towards me through the towel ring, see long, black, hairy legs hove into view over the top of the towel, yelp and curse, run for Wookiee.

Yes, it was the same cloakroom and yes, it was another of the very large garden variety spider. Hugs were required after that one had been dealt with by my big strong hero.

Can I have a few spider-free days please.