LAURA CARTLEGDE: My shining knight has a dustpan and brush

Snakes on a Plane is a film with a terrifying idea at its core.

Granted, I’ve heard from many who watched it that it was so farcical it was funny, but it is the potential fear I want you to remember as I reveal what happened to me this week.

Confined space? Check. Scary creature? Check. Samuel L Jackson on hand to save the day? Sadly not.

Instead, in the tale of MASSIVE spider in a VW Polo, it is just myself, my sister and a dustpan and brush.

Okay, so the end result might have been comical to outsiders, but I can tell you I’ve had little reason to smile about it all.

The story began on Wednesday night, driving back late along Chidham’s narrow road.

And as a single strip of streetlight flashed across my dashboard – the horror revealed itself for the first time.

The next light cast its shadow again, legs aloft, giving me a wave. I swear I almost heard it cackle.

Adopting what can only be described as ‘pregnancy breaths’, I drove as quickly and carefully as I could home.

Then, mere metres from my drive, I went under a bridge, and when I got out the other side – it had gone.

Now, disclaimer time, I am not great with spiders by any means. But I can muster the courage to cup-over, card-under, launch-outside. However this isn’t really possible motoring, alone, along the A27.

And that is what scared me. What if it appeared suddenly and I got distracted? Something serious could happen.

It wasn’t worth thinking about.

I needed it gone. But a thorough torchlight search revealed nothing.

Neither did a good hoover session the next day.

So I crossed my fingers and drove to Partridge Green for an interview.

Nothing. It’s nocturnal, I figured. And the next nights proved me right.

Each time I would pull over, heart pounding, but as soon as I turned the engine off – it vanished.

Then, on Friday, things changed when it took a daytime saunter across the dash.

I’ll admit I screamed. Nothing was safe any more.

So at the weekend I convinced my sister to join me for a drive. She agreed, she admitted later, because she thought I was ‘over-reacting’.

With no sign of the beast, and our journey nearly at its end, I gently turned up the heat – quite literally. Putting my windscreen to warm.And there it was.

My sister lost it. She screamed. A lot.

I desperately carried on manoeuvring the one way system. Then watched it slip back into the gap near the windscreen.

I was gutted. I thought we’d missed our chance. But moments later, it came back for the last time.

My sister launched the dustpan at it, trapping it against the screen.

We got out, high fived and then realised we still had to deal with it.

Thankfully a parked taximan had seen the commotion and came to our rescue.

The spider? It now calls Southsea Common home. And we won’t be visiting in a hurry.