It was quite large, about the size of a jam jar lid and had to duck its head to squeeze under the door, which was only slightly ajar.
I mentioned its presence in the hope that either PP or Small Dog would spring into action and deal with the offending arachnid but they were either asleep or chose to ignore me. If it had been either a snake or a squirrel they'd have leapt out of bed like a shot.
Having switched the TV off I lay quietly, listening for any signs of life from the shower room, while the realisation gradually dawned on me that my bladder was sending very definite signals I couldn't ignore.
Now, I could have chosen to use the main bathroom toilet, or even the downstairs loo, but some misplaced sense of fear-induced bravado led me to give my inner arachnophobe a good talking to and the decision was made to use the one in the shower room.
Sitting on the very edge of the bed nearest the shower room, I used my foot to push the door open then peered into the gloom.
No sign of it.
I reasoned that a spider the size of a saucer would be easy to spot, even in the half light but the increasingly urgent signals from my bladder meant that I didn't have time to conduct a thorough visual search before entering the shower room. Pushing the door as far open as possible I sidled in, eyes swivelling in all directions like a chameleon, hoping to maintain the element of surprise.
You would think that a spider the size of a dinner plate would be quite conspicuous but they're cunning buggers.
Rather than switch on the ceiling light, which would activate the extractor fan, thus masking any noise which a spider the size of a hubcap might make as it thundered across the floor, I used the shaving light over the sink, which bathed the room in an eerie glow, accentuating the shadows thrown by the toothbrushes and served only to heighten my growing hysteria.
All this time, I'd still had the option to use an alternative toilet, but the combination of a bladder full to overflowing and the adrenalin pumping through my veins meant that I'd reached the point of no return.
I'd no sooner sat down than I realised just how vulnerable I was, with my pj bottoms round my ankles, in full flow. I remembered, too late, from my time in Australia, the warning always to check under toilet seats for spiders and an icy finger of fear stroked down my back, until I reminded myself that a spider the size of a manhole cover could never fit under the toilet seat.
It would be hiding behind the door, which I'd pushed wide open.
Despite having been incredibly lax over the years with my pelvic floor exercises I immediately stopped mid-stream and held my breath, watching and listening for a large, hairy spider leg to appear from behind the door, to be followed by poison-dripping fangs and a head so hideous as to be unimaginable to anyone other than someone with an over-active imagination.
By now I was in a cold sweat, heart thumping, desperately trying to finish so that I could flee to the relative safety of the bedroom. As I bent over to pull up my pj bottoms I anticipated the soft thud of 8 spider legs on my back as it abseiled over the top of the door in a graceful arc, and of having to stumble out of the shower room like Sarah Jane in that episode of Dr. Who in the early 1970s where giant spiders from Metebelis 3 are trying to take over the earth and she has one attached to her back.
I'll never forget that.
Having whipped myself up into a escalating frenzy of fear, I finally fled the shower room, pulling the door firmly closed behind me and leaping onto the bed in one mighty bound. I lay shivering for ages, trying to calm my breathing and racing heart. Small Dog, finally roused from her slumbers by my near-death experience came and sat on my chest, staring at me intently till I tipped her off.
It took me ages to get to sleep. Every tiny creak, scratch and scrabble was magnified in my head and only served to heighten my hysteria. However I reasoned that a spider the size of a dustbin lid would have to kick the door down to get out. Either that or lift it off its hinges.
This morning there is still no sign of it. I recounted my nocturnal
And so it could.
Lying in wait, plotting and scheming. It's probably making a nest under my pillow as I write.
Also, for reasons best known to herself, Small Dog finds the following picture absolutely hilarious....
She'll be laughing on the other side of her furry little face if the one lurking upstairs fancies a midnight snack.