It’s autumn and large spiders are infesting our house. I’m not exaggerating: at least two a night are scuttling across the lounge as if they own the place. And if they get into the home office, work will be suspended until they’re dealt with!

For a lifelong arachnophobe, going from a relatively arachnid-free August to an eight-legged-freak show in September is a seasonal nightmare.

But this year it’s worse. The ugly monsters are bigger than normal, because the weather’s been perfect for them. Our unusual influx may also be due to location. We’re just six miles from Reading University, which according to Buglife is one of the most spiderific areas in the country. Something to consider if you’re moving house.

So why do the hideous monsters turn usually sane people into quivering wrecks? Learned behaviour, says a local hypnotherapist, who promises to cure the afflicted in three sessions.

Should I take her up on the offer? My husband thinks so. He’s the one who’s on spider-catching duty if one of the blighters shows its ugly face. I certainly can’t rely on Nimrod – a cat who has singularly failed to live up to his ‘mighty hunter’ nom de plume.


Nimrod fails to catch a spider

He plays with them a bit, gets bored, then leaves them to scuttle back under the sofa. And as every spider-hater knows, the idea that they’re lurking in the house, ready to pounce, is worse than anything.

So bravely deciding to deal with this year’s infestation myself, I turned to Facebook – friends have so far recommended conkers, Raid, mops and a website on home remedies.

So after a £30 splurge on anti-spider bottled sprays and a spider hoover-upper shaped like a Star Wars light sabre, I’m ready for action. Anyone with a better idea, I’d love to hear them!