Sunday, May 15, 2016

Must I dust?

This last week, Rotterdam has been as dusty as a mid-west cattle town and without the excuse of any four footed bovines (note I did say four-footed). Every day I've come home to my barge to find it cloaked in a fine yellow layer as if has been sprayed with even handed care over every surface. Every day, I have dutifully washed it down with my long hose attached to the dompelpomp that I lower into the now dust and seed-covered harbour. For it's that time too; the one when all the seed pods fly off the trees and play in the dust devils, chivying each other up the street before landing on the surface of the water. Washing it all off makes no difference, though; not to the dust and seed pods, which simply settle again overnight; but also not to the spiders, whose webs I cannot avoid spraying when I'm on a mission against the demon dust.

Seed pods in the harbour. They form a huge island
and it drifts from one side to the other


Talking of spiders, have you ever noticed that their webs are almost unbelievably strong? You can point a high pressure jet of water at them and they won't budge. It's amazing.

All boat dwellers suffer from invasions of arachnids every year and if the boat has much wood on it, it's even worse. I have to say it just goes with the boating territory. But it wouldn't be so bad if they didn't spin quite so many webs in quite such inconvenient places. Some mornings I get up and have to fight my way through their overnight production to reach my loo.

And that's another thing; spiders are unbelievably industrious, aren't they? Outside, they spin webs between my barge and the one moored next to me (how they do that without falling into the water is beyond me - they must have invisible trapeze swings), over the steering wheel and between the engine room and the back cabin (roef). And they don't just do this once a week; they do it every single day. No matter how often you clear them away, they're busy rebuilding their BWW (Boat Wide Web) before you've even put the broom back inside.

My problem is that I grew up with a full quota of my mother's maxims, one of which was 'if you wish to live and thrive, let a spider run alive.' Ho hum. This presents me with a daily dilemma and I've probably consigned myself to a life of toil and destitution as I cannot move across my boat, inside or out, without destroying some hard working spider's home. I remain alive, but I fear the thriving bit will escape me.

But going back to the dust, I've heard varying reports about its provenance: it's rape seed pollen from Germany, it's just pollen in the air, or it's a Sahara sand cloud. I honestly don't know and can't say, but what I do know is there's more of it than ever before - like everything else these days. A friend of mine said we are just having more weather and I agree. But why is that? There are plenty who talk about climate change, but why should that also mean we get more pollen, more dust and just more of everything else? If it means we'll have more bees, butterflies and birds, I won't mind, but if we get more mozzies, spiders and bugs, I'll be having very stern words with the Boss...

Never mind, though. For now, I shall just keep hosing down my barge with dusty water from the dusty harbour and wait for the next extreme something from somewhere exotic to come our way.

I must admit that for once, I wouldn't mind if it was a bit of extremely clean rain!

14 comments:

  1. I'm with you in the sod dusting and letting the spiders live corner. But mozzies, I'm afraid I zap them, and so find it hard to be kind to wasps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I so agree about wasps, and yes, mozzies are fair game, aren't they? It's them or us!

      Delete
  2. Hi Val - yes we have dust too - but it's European dust - it could have come from further south .. but to us it's European! They've been saying Saharan and the wind direction was from there. It is a pain ...

    Breeding spiders are the worst - when you know zillions of them are appearing and running in all directions to find their own homes.

    Good luck with the sprucing up .. and living to let live - my brother and SIL do that ... I sort of keep a handle on things - then I live in a smaller space ...

    Enjoy the warming weather - cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I go into panic mode when I see their nests, Hilary. They breed zillions as you say! So it's European dust in the UK, is it? I like that!

      Delete
  3. Hello Val, I can just imagine how frustrating it is for you and the Spiders in having to refresh your homes on a daily basis :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am in constant negotiation with them, Mel. I've told them they can have all the corners. I just need a through run from one end to the other, but they don't listen...

      Delete
  4. It's firmly believed by UK canally folk that conkers jammed in open windows will keep spiders out, but the jury's out on that one as far as we're concerned!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What happens if you don't have jam openable windows too? Still, it's worth a try. I'll tape them to my crevices ....thanks, Roger!

      Delete
  5. Well, silly me, I imagined that spiders would not leave the land to spin webs on boats! How wrong I was, it sounds just like our place, and yes, the webs are so strong, and they will re-build every day if you knock it down. Talk about determined :)
    The dust/pollen sounds quite awful, and it would give me the sneezes I think. I hope you get that nice clean rain and that it takes it all away from your pretty harbour. Have a good week Val.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spiders know no boundaries, Patricia. I have constant battles with them and I hate killing them, but sometimes it can't be helped. It's cold today, so hopefully the dust will go away….you have a good week too! x

      Delete
  6. I hope those seed pods can't find their way into boat engines or any such important boat stuff. We've not had many spiders in this house but did in our last house and I always leave them alone. In our downstairs toilet sometimes a slug ( yes slug) comes up from a tiny space below the wash hand basin and crawls up the wall. One night there was a tiny baby slug. It's always gone by morning but I might feel differently if it decides to bring its friends and party in my loo.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Fantastic, entertaining blog as usual. Personally, I'm amazed! I would never have thought about spiders and dust on a barge and it's fascinating to see the floating dust islands! You live a marvelously adventurous life, Val - even when you're just getting from one day to the next!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Remedy to drive spiders away
    Recipe for All Natural Spider-Stay-Away-Spray

    You will need…

    -5 to 7 drops of peppermint, tea tree, citrus, lavender, or neem essential oil
    -a reusable spray bottle
    -liquid dish soap
    -warm water
    -a dash of white vinegar* (optional)

    Spray the surfaces where they gather and you never know it might work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mel! How kind! I'll try that first and follow it up with conkers!

      Delete

Apologies for switching on comment moderation, but this is to make sure everyone can comment without jumping through captcha hoops!