My boyfriend the defender of bugs

There is a spider in my bath tub. Brown, about an inch in diameter including the legs.

The moment of discovery happened when I was brushing my teeth and at the same time reaching across the bath tub to get my facial wash.

Shock. Adrenaline. Freeze response.

In my lesser past, I would have, after the cursory freeze, jumped, screamed, violently dropped my electric toothbrush on the spider and swallowed toothpaste, all under a second.

It was only two years of spider-desensitisation training in England that prevented this most inconvenient mishap.

Yes, there are a lot of spiders in England and I’ve had to learn to put a lid on the drama.


Mad girl alert!


Or maybe it’s only in Piers’ flat that there are a lot of spiders. I can’t say for sure. I think spiders love him because he is their knight in shining armor.

He rescues them from hyperventilating lunatics who hurl heavy toothbrushes at them. While at the same time pretending to be the gallant knight to the damsel in distress who is scared of bugs.

Men are skilled at taking accidental credit when one offers itself up. It’s in their DNA to ensure the survival of the alpha male ego.

But, seriously, I am convinced that Piers cares for bugs more than he does me, although he would never admit it. Look at this text exchange and tell me I’m wrong.


Casually chatting about spiders


Like any knight in shining armor worthy of the holy grail, Piers has his sword and shield to champion his bugs. Except his sword is a cup (not at all holy) and his shield is a torn piece of cardboard.

The bug cup used to be our rice measuring cup but I banned it from re-entering the rice bin after he used it to rescue a moth. So the cup found itself a new job in the bug chivalry industry.

The torn piece of cardboard used to convey instructions for cooking a dish of slow cooked beef and three bean chilli in a rich tomato and chipotle sauce with rice. I suppose it still does that job but no one appreciates it in that role anymore.

It now serves as a roof to shelter destitute bugs until they can be released to the safe outdoors where deadly flying toothbrushes do not occur with alarming frequency.


Piers' sword and shield


Perhaps the cup and the cardboard enjoy their new, very noble jobs. Perhaps, perhaps.

It’s good to give our household items a fulfilling sense of purpose.


Have no fear, Sir Piers is here


Piers, defender and saviour of bugs, I’m sure, is very fulfilled.


The bath tub spider says hi
The spider in the bath tub.

Piers and his creatures

One of the things that surprises me about Piers is that he doesn’t kill pests. (I think it runs in his family.)

Everyone else I know would kill ants, cockroaches, flies or any unidentified creepy crawlies without a thought, by any means available (swatting, squishing, flushing down toilet, insecticide spraying, poisoning, burning).

Piers would rescue them.

Now, don’t get the wrong idea. He doesn’t like insects, especially in his home, but he will not kill them. He will capture them in a box and then set them free outdoors.

When we were at the villa in Mallorca, he offered biscuits to a trail of ants, and later helped them courier a dead wasp to their home.


Ants with dead wasp
Piers’ good deed for the day


The ants were about four feet away from home when he found them trying to cart their treasure along, but they were so slow and it would have taken them hours, so Piers just picked up the wasp and dropped it right at their doorstep, causing the carrying ants to get into a frenzy when their luggage vanished before their eyes.

The worker ants at the door quickly radioed for help and, soon, a whole bunch of them came to help drag the wasp through their doorway.

I think Piers has some kind of strange affinity with creatures. Not just insects, but also animals. He has a talent for spotting things. He’s always doing it and pointing them out to whomever’s around.


Spotted at a hill path to Bournemouth Beach.


In Mallorca, he spotted one silverfish, one ladybird, two praying mantids separately, a giant queen ant, a hummingbird, the first bat that flew across our villa, and two goats camouflaged on a mountain.


Ladybird finding refuge on his sleeve.


Praying mantis
Praying mantis in a corner by the ceiling on the balcony of the villa.


He also rescued a bee who fell into our Coke can while trying to drink our Coke.

In comparison, I spotted only one baby cockroach who liked to use our bathroom in the villa in the middle of the night.

The goat spotting was really something else.

We were lying by the pool, reading, when he suddenly said, “Did you hear that?”

“No,” I said.

“Sounded like a goat,” he said.

I listened and heard nothing.

He listened some more, then ran off. I continued reading.

Fifteen minutes later, he ran back excitedly to tell everyone that he had spotted a small goat on the mountain behind the villa.


The goat was somewhere halfway up the mountain.


It was a bit hard to spot because the goats (we later discovered there were two) kept hiding behind tall grass and bushes, only walking out into view occasionally.

And they were really far away, so I had to max out the optical zoom on my camera (12x) to get a barely discernable image of them.


Mountain goat
Goat moving through tall grass.


Mountain goat
Goat looking straight at us!


Several months ago (I was in Singapore at that time) Piers was trying to fix his washing machine when he discovered a giant scary brown spider at the back of the machine.

He caught it in a disposable plastic container, took a photo of it, then set it free outside his apartment.

I looked at the photo and spent 15 minutes on Google trying to discover its breed to find out whether it’s deadly. Turned out it was a rustic wolf spider. Non fatal to humans but could potentially kill a dog.

Personally, I would want something scary like that dead if it’s living anywhere near me, but at the same time I respect Piers’ non-killing policy.

I suppose it doesn’t really matter too much. All that matters is that he does all the bug catching so I don’t have to.