Picture the scene. It is four-thirty in the very early morning and the farmer's wife has got out of bed to go to the bathroom. The farmer is fast asleep and she doesn't want to wake him, so she creeps out on to the landing and into the bathroom, shuts the door and pulls on the light, crosses to the far side of the bathroom and sits on the loo.
From the far corner of the bathroom the beast emerges from behind the pedestal of the wash hand basin. First one leg, then another, until all eight legs become visible and a VERY LARGE body in between. Upon catching sight of me it stops, rises up on its long legs and looks at me (well I presume it does but I am not at all sure where a spider's eyes are located).
Not wishing to wake the farmer because he might not get back to sleep again (and also not wishing him to think me an absolute wuss - he is more than half way there already), I sit transfixed and think.
This seems to be exactly what the spider is doing (do spider's have brains?) and for a while we share this game of statues. Then, suddenly, without warning, it sets off at breakneck speed across the bathroom floor in my direction, seemingly aiming for my feet. I raise them from the ground (as far as I can) and we repeat the whole charade.
Finally I waft my feet about and it sits very still. I leap off the toilet, shoot out of the bathroom, pull out the light switch and reach the bed in double-quick time (didn't know I could move this fast these days) and then make sure the duvet does not touch the bedroom carpet. (Can spiders jump?)
Later in the morning I go into the Library and find they are putting up their Hallowe'en decorations. As I push open the door the young Librarian is just holding a very large black card spider ready to hang from the ceiling. There has to be a third spider-sighting. Will it be tonight in the middle of the night? Has the spider taken up Winter residence in the bathroom? Can I ever escape from the beast in the bathroom? Watch this blog.
All this reminds me of long ago, in my prev ious life, when I lived in middle England and my first husband worked as a Civil Servant teaching young men in a maximum security prison for young offenders. You can imagine - he knew young men very well and stood no nonsense (he was always very popular with his 'students' I have to say).
One year we had been away on holiday and when we returned a lady who lived in one of the houses that faced on to the bottom of our back garden came in to see us. She was a Special Constable and said that she didn't want to alarm us but while we were away she had seen a young man from higher up the road come down to our back garden very late one night - in the dark - and tip something over the fence into our shrubbery. She told us that she suspected drugs.
Taking the bull by the horns my husband went immediately to the house and confronted the young man, whose parents were away. He looked very shame-faced on hearing the accusation and immediately confessed. He was scared of spiders and he had 'rescued' one from the carpet in their sitting room using the glass and card method and thought if he put it in our garden then it was too far away from his house to return.
My husband's reply (which I have never forgotten) was, "Any time you want to put a spider in our garden, you just help yourself mate!"