Has Carole the tarantula cured my arachnophobia?

I’ve been an arachnophobe my whole life. I can’t remember a time when videos of spiders, or even photos or drawings, didn’t give me palpitations. As a kid Charlotte’s Web read as sinister propaganda. Even as an adult, just hearing the word ‘tarantula’ would make me feel like one was crawling on me (kind friends and colleagues took to calling it ‘the t-word’). I wish I could blame someone for these fears, but no one else in my immediate family screamed uncontrollably when a house spider scuttled across the floor. A fear of spiders is the third most common phobia in the UK, so I know I haven’t been alone.

My wife is caught in a web of fear

Even in my shed at the bottom of the garden I can hear the screams coming from the house. Shrieks of pure terror, often sustained for several seconds, followed by desperate cries for help. No, my family’s not being assailed by a serial killer. Spider season is here and Caroline is an arachnophobe. One a scale of one to ten, I’d give her about an eight on the irrationality scale. She doesn’t insist that I search every nook and cranny of our bedroom to make sure it’s spider-free before she can go to sleep. But she has surrounded the bed with conkers. She’s a great believer in the spider-repelling properties