Susan Morrison: Why I punched a swan but ran from a spider

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Look, I realise everyone is all excited and everything, and yes, I know the newspapers are full of it and everyone is chit chatting about it, but can we all just shut up and stop talking about spiders for a minute?

There are many things in this world I will face down, be it a young man full of drink and anger or a screaming Kirkgate banshee in full meltdown at Harrier jump jet volumes.

I’ve been known to tackle a bad tempered dog and I once punched a swan. Please don’t get alarmed. The swan was making moves to do some serious damage to my then 
toddler son, who had been minding his own business next to a pond.

Rule one of the animal kingdom should read, do not threaten the off-spring of short angry Scotswomen. The all-conquering spirit of Mary Barbour and Ma Broon lives within each of us.

Swan eyeballed son. He rose up majestically. The swan, that is. My son was of an age where the only thing he did majestically was best wrapped and disposed of right swiftly.

The swan commenced aggressive neck stretching coupled with hooting in a menacing manner on a public footpath.

I suspect it was because we had no bread, and this privileged grandee of the bird world expected peons to feed him, like a sort of feathered Bullingdon boy. Always expecting something to be shoved into their snouts, that lot.

The beast backed down when it was sharply bopped on the beak. He was unhurt, but I could tell his dignity was dented. Birds, dogs, mad radgees in the Kirkgate, a quick stern look, and they all behave. The beak-bop was the final option.

But, and this is a big Kardashian-sized but. The mere sight of those eight legs, and I am off.

Two legs good, four legs better, eight legs dead..

Oh and then you get the “oh-here-he-comes-with-the-glass-to-rescue-me” moment, when ol’ spidey turns turbo and takes off like the heavily fancied favourite at the 3.10 at Ascot.

And don’t tell me that they are our special friends because they eat the flies. Naff off, you arachno-apologists.

Clearly the bluebottle population has barely registered the spider danger, given the amount of Hindenburgh sized specimens we get in summer.

Your average fly at least has the courtesy to warn of its approach by means of a buzzing arrangement. Also, you can wallop a bluebottle easier with a rolled up copy of the Evening News (sorry, Ed, but it is exactly the right size. You get a great heft with it. The Guardian’s rubbish)

Don’t bang on about how clever they are. If they were really smart, they would have evolved to be in a variety of pretty colours and thus be an ornament to our walls and skirting boards.

Oh and don’t witter on about me bumping them off. The rules are simple. Two legs good, four legs better, eight legs dead. You stay in your world, I’ll stay in mine. You appear on my wall, it’s Sayonara, spidey.

Just as soon as my husband gets home.

Equality queen lost her crown to an invader

My husband fondly recalls our early days, when we came home one evening to find a monster which took up the entire width of the coving. We had a bedsit in a converted Victorian house. It had seriously wide coving.

During our dinner date that night, I had been educating my then adoring suitor about the more detailed nuances of feminist theory and practise.

So, it was something of a surprise to him to have this Equality Queen suddenly shriek “Spider” at the top of her lungs and then bolt into the wardrobe until he had battled the beast, like a sort of bedsit Beowulf.

He had to sit outside the wardrobe and pass whisky through the door until I deemed it safe to come out.

It was only safe to come out once every single square inch of that bedsit had been checked. For all I knew, that could have been the baby. Momma could be lurking somewhere.

If human mums get outraged by a hissing swan attack, how miffed would spider ma be when she discovered that junior had been totalled by a size 9 slipper?

Beam me up, spidey

They just appear. One minute, it’s a blank wall, and the next second, bam! There it is, half way up and watching.

How do they do that? Can they “beam in”, a la

Star Trek? Why do they stop moving the minute you see them? Do they think they can’t be seen?

Well, my eight-legged friend, when you are roughly the size of something Outer Hebridean, where ferries still don’t sail on the Sabbath, and you are on my kitchen wall, then you bet I can see you.

Not only can I see you, folks passing the window can see you.

From the bus.