I have recently discovered a strange practice going on in the homes of my friends. Many of them have been strategically placing the seeds of the Horse Chestnut tree (or Conker, to give them their common name) around their home. These Conkers would be found on stairs and on the window sills throughout the home.
At first I was puzzled as to why you would scatter these Conkers throughout your home. Could it be in case you are raided by the Conker police, who pick households at random to check they have a adequate supply of Conkers (as part of a government initiative to bring back more traditional past times)?
As it turns out, no. However, the real reason is far more bizarre:
Apparently, Conkers deter Spiders from coming into your home. Yes, you heard me right - Spiders won't come into your home if you have Conkers.
Just how the Conkers stop the Spiders coming in, is a mystery. Perhaps the Conkers give off a chemical that the Spiders find unpleasant.
Or maybe Spiders just can't climb over them - instead they end up like those circus performers rolling a giant ball around while they stand on it running.
Personally, I think the answer is all in the polish. All the Conkers are highly polished, so that as the spiders approach, they see themselves reflected in the surface of the Conker. We all know how warped we look in the back of a spoon, so multiply that by 8 (the number of eyes a spider has) then multiply that by how horrible a spider looks anyway, and you've got some idea as to how horrible the spiders own reflection must be to it.
Of course, no-one wants Conkers in their home longer than they have to. Luckily you only have to physically place Conkers down for the first year. From the second year onwards all you need to do is put tiny signs that read "Still Got Conkers" on the drain pipes, threshold, and window frames - anywhere the Spiders try to get in.
I must admit, I've only ever heard of one other example where Conkers stopped anything getting in. It was at my aunts house - she had a Rottweiler named 'Conkers' that would attack anything that came near the house. Once it got out and took three fingers off the left hand of our postman. The poor postie was demoted after that as he could only carry parcels from then onwards.
Spiders and Conkers eh? Weird.....