|Photo by Pascoe - my hand shaking too much.|
Pascoe has been at home with us this Easter, and as a strapping young man with ingenuity and enormous patience, older family members are taking advantage of his presence to get those awkward little jobs done.
One such task awaited us in Cornwall. His Granddad needed to replace his large and leaky shed, but there was heaps of stuff in it, including those conundrums – purchasing mistakes. There were in the shed an unwieldy electric mower, a garden vacuum cleaner and a hedge trimmer which just weren’t useful to my father.
“It seems a shame to throw them out when they’re in good condition.”
“Don’t worry, Dad, we can take them away with us and eBay or Frecycle them.” (I speak Internet)
After some token protests from my father, Pascoe waded into the depths of the shed after the items. They were a bit cobwebby so I brushed them down.
Pascoe got a brush too and turned the lawnmower over to clean it. I was about to say – “Don’t bother, I’ve already done that,” when two huge spiders appeared from behind the blades. They had long black legs and mottled red abdomens.
“False widows!” I shrieked.
“Oh, they’re no trouble, said my Dad, there are loads of them in the shed.”
Pascoe manfully exterminated the arachnids with fly spray.
I needed to sit down. We all went in for a cup of tea. On our return, Pascoe lifted up the lawnmower to check that the large spiders were dead, but half a dozen more, smaller false widows dropped out of it and started to scuttle off. There was clearly a nest of poisonous spiders in the workings . I screamed and ran down the drive.
When I came back, Pascoe was dismantling the lawnmower and spraying fly killer into it. I began to make “Don’t really want that in the car” noises.
Dad, however, really didn’t want it cluttering up his shed any more and was reciprocating with “You said you’d get rid of it” noises.
Pascoe was now checking my identification of the spiders using his mobile phone and the web (ha!).
“Definitely false widows. But look here – it says their bite has never yet been fatal in the UK, and it’s usually not much worse than a wasp sting.”
“There you go,” said Dad, “You’ll be fine.”
“Dad – it’s a five and a half hour drive home on the motorway. Have you ever heard of the film Snakes on a Plane?”
Finally I solved the issue by spotting that it was bin day and pushing the lawnmower down the drive to stand next to the bin. We went out for a walk and when we came back the lawn-mower of death had gone.
“I paid over seventy quid for that,” muttered my father, ruefully.
That was over two days ago and Pascoe is still enjoying creeping up behind me and tickling the back of my neck. He has learnt a lot of choice new words from me.