The air is heavy with the smell of sex and death. It is spiders’ mating season out in both my front and back garden. Soon after breeding the male of the species will be given its last rites. Staying behind, the female brown house spider will sit quietly for hours on its tangled and sticky web.
A wet summer, a damp autumn, unusually warm temperatures. All these factors have led to an increase of eight-legged creatures on my doorstep. And inside the house. Especially in the bathtub, on the off-white walls, or scurrying from one corner of the kitchen to another (usually the male), stopping for a second in the middle of the white floor, thus, becoming the initial Damien Hirst-inspired black dot on a blank canvas, and then legging it again (pun intended).
The courtship is a beauty, although not for Mr Spider in the long term. It (He?) spins a small web on which a tiny drop of its semen goes. After carrying it around on two palps the male spider will eventually find a female partner with a ready-made web (talk about finding a Sugar Mama!). Cohabitation follows after which Sir will be surplus to requirements. Outside my kitchen window this scenario is being played out as the sky darkens and the clouds close ranks. The whole set-up reminds me of Queen’s Killer Queen: “She’s a Killer Queen/Gunpowder, gelatine/Dynamite with a laser beam/Guaranteed to blow your mind/Anytime”. The scent of sex and death. Somehow the air feels incredibly heavy.