Have you ever had a conversation with someone, about something that really spooks you? Then they try their best to reassure you, only somehow, they make it worse?
Well, this has kind of been my story over the last couple of weekends.
I have a fascination with Australia. It could be the accent (yep), it could be the idea of bronzed, blonde, blue eyed, surfer dudes (yep), but it could also be the vastness of the country. It still amazes me, and this is the same to a certain extent with the USA, how you have to get on a plane to get from one side of the country to the other. It is possible to drive from one end of the UK to the other, in less than twelve hours!
My dream is to visit Australia. There are dozens of reasons for this (and if I happen to bump into aforementioned surfer dude, then so be it…) but primarily I want to see it for myself. I want to experience the warmth; the summer and the winter being the opposite way around. I want to have a ‘barbie’ on the beach and I want to know what the ‘real bush’ looks like. I want to see kangaroos and koalas out in the wild and I want to hear possums on the roof at night.
Over the last couple of weekends, I have been fortunate enough to meet with some of my husband’s family who have emigrated to the land of Oz. An Uncle and cousin nearly thirty years ago, and another cousin around two years ago. I decided that having experts on hand would be an ideal opportunity to find out everything that there was to know about Oz – which included spiders and snakes…
We started at the tame end. Snakes. Evidently these can be found meandering along the roads in Oz and if you drive over them, they get cross (I can kind of see their point). Once cross, they will attach themselves to your car and if you are not quick enough to close your windows then bam… they are inside.
I am beginning to waiver here.
“But it’s fine,” says the Uncle, “I’ve only seen around three on the road in my thirty years…”
Hmm… still waivering.
Next we get onto spiders. These, it would seem, come in all shapes and sizes and will give you a nasty ‘nip’. I don’t like spiders. We don’t have any poisonous spiders in the UK and by Oz standards, ours are tiny, but I still run like a girl whenever I see them.
In Oz they can be sitting on your front door, the size of your hand. Or bigger. They require industrial strength spray to kill them (or mortally wound them) and then you have to dispose of them – and it would seem that the traditional UK method of sucking them up with a vacuum cleaner won’t cut it. Due to their size.
I am seriously wobbling now.
Apparently it is wise to check your shoes before you put them on, not to leave clothes on the floor and to give your bed a thorough going over before you get in at night.
Now I am really not happy. Surfer dude or not…
The cousins’ try to reassure me. “It’s okay, we don’t like spiders either, but we are coping. We just sweep the house with the spray every morning and it’s all good…”
Yeah. I am sure it is. But on the basis that our dream is to take a camper van around Oz and there are hundreds of spider sized nooks and crannies in one of those… I am seriously doubting if even the most blonde of hunky surfer dudes is going to get me on that plane…