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I'll always help a spider, but flies are a sworn enemy; Maureen on Monday.

Byline: Maureen Spring

RESPECT for all living things. Even the tiniest insect. A personal philosophy I quote when my neighbour looks disapprovingly at the lush weeds now growing apace on my gravelled drive and advises me to buy several gallons of weedkiller.

As the other day when I was outside admiring a particularly splendid dandelion flower glowing in the sunshine.

"Sorry, don't approve of weedkiller. It kills all the insect life."

A few minutes earlier I'd saved the life of a couple of baby ladybirds that came indoors on a sheet I'd just taken off the line.

It took a while to encourage them to crawl on to tissue (they kept on turning back) but eventually they decided they might as well be sensible.

I carefully carried them to the lawn to watch them toddle away.

And it wasn't much later I showed the same kindness to a spider that I spotted swimming furiously in the toilet, getting nowhere fast. So I fished it out, carried it by one of its tired little legs - which fortunately stayed attached - back into the wild.

If eldest son had been here it would have been flushed away mid-stroke. He has a spider phobia. On one memorable occasion he interrupted his sister's cosy moment with her boyfriend to ask her to remove a spider from the bathroom because he was desperate to go the loo and daren't go in.

I asked him recently why he was so scared. "What on earth do you think a tiny creature like that is going to do to you?"

"Spiders stare. And they've got elbows."

Last night I discovered I have a cruel sadistic flaw in my personality.

Not only did I kill one of God's harmless creatures, I enjoyed watching it suffer first.

Well it should have had more sense. Nearly midnight, me in bed having a peaceful read when from nowhere came a noise like a miniature helicopter whirring out of control around my head.

A fly. A huge very cross fly that had suddenly woken up refreshed and ready to play. Zig-zagging about like a toy plane (sorry, helicopter) with its rubber band wound too tight until I could stand it no longer.

Sorry mate, you've got to die. Flapping Woman's Own then pillow was useless. Towel caught curtains and drew them back exposing me and my nightie doing an imitation of the dance of the seven veils to anybody who happened to be passing on the way home from the pub. Ah well, made a change from seeing flying pink elephants I suppose, though a certain similarity springs to mind.

Fly was having great fun. Ducking and diving, playing dead when he was just having a rest to get his breath back then rip-roaring off with newly wound-up wings.

Battle commenced. Winner being the one who collapsed with fatigue first - and it wasn't going to be me if we had to fight all night.

Try softly softly approach. Take him by surprise. So I stood absolutely still watching to see if I could detect a route he instinctively took so would be ready for him at his next pit stop.

Inside my bedside lampshade. Hurray. He was exhausted. I could tell by the way he crawled from shade to hot lightbulb. 'Aha! Fry your feet mate. Take your last painful gasp then DIE.' I enjoyed his agony.

Come on, he might have ended up splattered, battered and bloody over the wall and that wouldn't have been a very dignified way to go now would it?

At least I allowed him to die a natural death - his handsomeness intact.

I think that was quite respectful.

Maureen Spring
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:May 29, 2006
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