So my wife told me there was a monster spider in the back garden and wanted to know if it would bite the children. She thought it may have come across in a banana boat or something. I walked over took one look at the beast and went in to get my flamethrower.
Before doing that I had a quick look on the internet just in case I was being a bit hasty and what I found surprised me. It turns out the monstererous spider is one of the most common garden spiders there is. Its name is Araneus diadematus and is largest in the Autumn when it is full of baby spider eggs. After laying their eggs the females die. Going by the most excellent Nicks Spiders it is:
… easily identified by the distinctive white cross on the abdomen (although in some specimens it is indistinct or missing). This spider is most commonly called in England the ‘garden spider’, it is also known as the cross spider. They are common in woodlands, heathlands and gardens. They build circular orb webs and can be found either sitting at the center of the web with facing down or in a retreat at the end of a signal line a short distance from the web itself.
So there you go, not a horrible beastie after all. The kids loved looking at it however seeing as it was not catching any insects at that time they wandered off.
Along with my wee books on trees and flowers I think I have a new addition to my Christmas wishlist on Amazon: