It was hardly a heroic moment worthy of brave Scottish hero Robert the Bruce.
Most of us spend much of our lives in what is frequently referred to as the smallest room in the house. For many, especially nowadays where indoor centrally-heated facilities have wiped out the likes of Granny Fyne’s knee-tremblingly cold outdoor thunderbox, it’s a comfortable place where one can savour solitary serenity to relax reading the paper or catching up on smartphone emails.
I’ve never been one for either of those. I’m a dedicated in-and-out man. There’s too much to do than waste time locked away in a state of deshabille contemplating the world’s ills, amongst other things, or soaking in a bath until one resembles a dried prune.
Mind you, during lockdown when loo rolls were in short supply, people putting the pan in pandemic by finding an alternative use for this column was not a something I wished to contemplate.
No matter, I was in characteristic in-and-out mode this week. After a quick seated pit stop for essential purposes, I was lowering the seat-lid prior to flushing when my eyes widened in horror. Something scary was looking back at me. Taking its leisure in our vitreous china was one of the largest spiders I’ve seen.
Eight huge hairy legs and eyes out on stalks. That’s hardly surprising considering the gruesome view it had just a few seconds earlier as it doubtless contemplated a fate considerably worse than death.
My reaction wasn’t that of an intrepid superhero. Instead, I started jumping around like Bruno Tonioli on speed, not easy with one’s trousers round one’s ankles.
Arachnid fans will be pleased to know I eventually liberated the unharmed creature rather than flushing it away, but I still have nightmares picturing it poking around barely a millimetre away from my unprotected posterior.
Next day, still shuddering from the shock, I pondered what a proper action man would have made of it. While visiting friends in Fife, I couldn’t help but wonder what the likes of Tom Cruise would have done had he discovered something similar in the palatial plumbing of the 68-metre superyacht he’s rumoured to have occupied as it cruised round Scotland.
I spotted the impressive vessel, called Triple Seven, as it eased out of Elie harbour and motored round the coast to anchor overnight in St Andrews Bay before heading south again towards Edinburgh. Would he have lived up to his Top Gun image and dealt with the debacle decisively, Maverick-style, or like me, would he have become the panic-struck star of a shocking sequel, Bottom Gun?
Finding out would be mission impossible, sadly.
Incidentally, you can charter Triple Seven for a cruise for a mere 538,000 euros a week. Hiring Tom for a week might cost considerably more. Sorry, Mrs F, both are somewhat above my holiday budget so, instead, if you’re brave enough, you’ll have to make do accompanying me cruising in a rowing boat on Inverness’s Whin Park boating pond.
Actually, fearlessness wouldn’t be a problem for her. She’s infinitely braver than those lily-livered world leaders who’ve scandalously abandoned Afghanistan to arguably a fate worse than death with the Taliban poised to enforce brutal Sharia law on its people. That’s frighteningly alien to western nations.
The UK spent billions of pounds and our armed forces lost hundreds of lives in what suddenly seems to have been a pointless struggle.
It’s interesting to see former Scottish Tory leader Ruth, now Baroness, Davidson appointed this week as a non-executive director, or NED, at Baxters of Fochabers. I reckon it’s her pusillanimous political bosses at Westminster who are now neds in the soup, not her.
It’s a strange world when folk seem to care more about the fate of Geronimo, the death-sentenced alpaca in Gloucestershire, than the fate of the Afghan people. They couldn’t spot an international calamity if it bit them on the bum.
Speaking of which, Mrs F asked me, with barely concealed glee, if I thought my scary smallest-room spider had been venomous? I pathetically said I’d look it up later on the web.
Courageous Robert the Bruce wouldn’t have been impressed.