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Byline: Abbie Wightwick

You know it's spider season when screams reverberate from the top of the house. The daughters, who have never been bothered much by spiders, have suddenly developed that screaming teenage girl thing.

Any excuse and they shriek, giggle, shriek again, and if possible make so much noise that half the neighbourhood can hear.

Spiders and any kind of autumn creepy crawly give the perfect excuse to get them yodelling.

"There's a daddy-longlegs in the shower," screams the oldest one.

"Aaarggggg," replies the younger one, "spray it with something."

They are running around like mad people, yelling, spraying, giggling and flicking lights on and off to confuse the beast.

I race upstairs to make sure no-one is using my Chanel as insect repellent.

"It won't hurt you," I say. "It looks evil," says the oldest with a shudder.

"It's all flappy and I don't like it." Her father appears at the door. A great believer in aversion therapy he cups the offending insect in his hands and suggests she gives it a kiss.

"Get away from me," she yells, virtually knocking him down in her rush to escape the bathroom.

"That was a great success," I say, hiding my Chanel in the cleaning cupboard where no-one, except me, is likely to look.

A friend has told my daughter that daddy-longlegs possess highly toxic venom only rendered harmless by their inability to bite humans.

As far as she is concerned you never know when evolution might turn and the world will be invaded by bugs out to take total control.

Once we were stuck in a car with a crane fly and she nearly leaped to her death to escape.

She was eight and we were on our way to Longleat where she later happily held a tarantula.

We even have photographic evidence of this, as I remind her.

"I remember now," she says with a grin.

"It felt like a mouse, it was so sweet."

Sweet? A tarantula? I'd forgotten, logic isn't a teen thing and, as I recall, even her brave father wasn't so keen on bugs once.

In the days before children we had enough money to travel to exotic locations. In Colombia he had fallen into a crevasse beside a tropical jungle.

Scared he would plummet to his death I lay on the muddy path and hauled him slowly to safety.

Afterwards, as we sat shaking with fear from the near-death experience, he turned to me and said: "Thank goodness for that. I was scared there might be huge spiders in there."

Maybe if he'd stayed they'd have kissed him?
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 3, 2012
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