I’m sure my house isn’t the only one which echoes with regular shrieks of terror at this time of year. The screams are from my wife, and usually emanate from the bathroom.

“Tim please, it’s a huge one, it’s looking at me, I can’t get near the sink!”

“It’s looking at you?”

“Yes, please take it away, now!”

The source of Kate’s terror is, of course, spiders, which are found more regularly in the house at this time of year as they seek the comfort of the indoors as the weather outside gets colder.

They are also on the prowl for mates, although by this time most romantic arachnid encounters have taken place, and the spiders are more likely searching for a cosy corner to spend the winter.

“Tim pleeeese, it’s moving!”

I suspect there has been an evolutionary understanding amongst the spiders in our house that Kate’s scream is a warning to scamper away fast to avoid capture.

“Move guys, that scream means the bald one is coming with his jar, every spider for themselves!”

You see, I’ve developed a routine for this domestic crisis. I keep a jar handy to catch the offending wee creature. I know this sounds like a stereotypical gendered image, the woman afraid of spiders and the man removing them. But that’s the way it is in our house.

So my task is to put them outside. But guess what? They keep getting back in!

So it’s a kind of natural cycle: Kate goes to the bathroom, scream takes place, I rush upstairs with the jar, kids look in awe at the spider in the jar, I carefully release the spider into the garden, then spider finds its way back into the house!

It would be easier to kill them but that is out of the question; it’s said to be bad luck and, anyway, Kate doesn’t want to harm the spiders, none of us do.

She just wants them to stay out of sight, which they usually do. The reality is we can’t stop spiders entering our house but they prefer to be hidden for obvious reasons.

Our fear of spiders is the most widespread phobia. Arachnophobia probably comes from a primeval survival instinct, as spiders can be dangerous.

In this country, of course, that is not normally the case, but all our ancestors lived in times and places where spiders could pose a potentially deadly threat.

Added to that, even if they are harmless, the way they look and walk can just creep us out, unlike a ladybird, which is seen as cute, unless you are an aphid.

But one spider in our house has managed to achieve special status and has, thus far, avoided removal. It’s an impressive diadem spider and it spun its web in a quiet corner.

The kids became fascinated by it as they watched its struggle to survive. They have even given it a name: TikTok Tiger Spider.

My suggestion that I remove it was met with howls of protest from them, as they have developed an affection for the creature and say she is good luck.

Kate has assured me she is happy for TikTok to stay, as long as it remains in that corner, because she also feels “a slight connection” to it.

TikTok is a lucky spider!

The thing is, despite our phobias, spiders have often been seen as a sign of good fortune, or helpers in troubled times.

There are many examples of this, including the mythical tale that a spider protected the infant Jesus from Herod’s soldiers by weaving an elaborate web at the mouth of the cave, where his family were hiding, thereby convincing the soldiers nobody could have recently entered the cave.

In Scotland, we have the story of Bruce and the Spider, a legendary tale most of us know from childhood.

The spider’s refusal to give up weaving its web, even after failing six times, inspired Bruce when it finally succeeded on the seventh attempt. So according to this story, Scotland’s recovery of independence was the result of a spider’s indefatigability!

In Greek mythology, Arachne was a young woman – a skilled weaver – turned into a spider by the jealous goddess, Athena.

In West African tradition, there is a spider called Anansi. He was no ordinary spider, but a shape-shifting trickster.

He could change form, often appearing in the guise of a man, but sometimes with spider features. The story is part of the traditions of the Ashanti people of Ghana.

Anansi had divine pedigree: his mother was Asase, the Earth Goddess, and his father Nyame, the Sky God. In one tale, Anansi discovers that the Sky God kept all the stories of the world locked in a box. Nyame agrees that Anansi can have the box, but only if he succeeds in three seemingly impossible tasks.

Anansi uses his wit and skill of weaving a web to trick and trap a deadly python, a fierce leopard and an angry swarm of dangerous hornets.

So he wins the box and spills the contents onto the earth, giving the world the gift of stories.

How the stories about Anansi travelled across the Atlantic during the slave trade, and then evolved, is a story in itself. Even the idea of Spiderman owes Anansi a debt.

I told the kids the story of Anansi recently and wondered if that was the reason for their affection for TikTok Tiger Spider.

So far it seems to understand the house rules and has stayed in the corner. But I’m keeping that jar handy, just in case.