Tuesday, 28 March 2017

An Experience

The most pivotal experience which changed my outlook on life entirely was when my wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Where previously I had normal career and life ambitions and made plans for the future this made me much more aware of how easily we take things for granted and how easily things can change.  Not necessarily through illness but jut as easily through accident.  It brought into focus how important it is to make the most of each and every day and really concentrate on getting the most out of life, enjoying what I have today to the maximum and changing things that are not quite right rather than bemoaning what I don't have and wishing for things to be different.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

A Dream










y head was in the jaws of a crocodile and there was enough pressure to stop me taking it out but not enough to cause me harm.  I lay in its jaws without fear or worry.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

A Memory

One of my earliest memories is watching my mother make a snow woman in the garden while my brother and [I] watched from the warmth of the kitchen table looking out to the snow.  She kept trying to put breasts on the snow woman but they kept falling off.  I would have been three or four at the time.

A House

(This isn't my house; it's one of Seven Answers).

When I was six, our family moved [...] to the Kent countryside on a brand new housing estate.  For the first time we had a garden although as the house was new it was mainly full of builders' rubble apart from a couple of apple trees, one of which was easily climbable.  At the end of the garden was a railway line that provided a regular backdrop of noisy trains but none of us cared; we were in a house, not a flat, and I could go to a school without constant playground scraps.  The house was a three bedroom semi-detached and my uncle, aunt and grandmother had moved into the attached property.

I shared a bedroom with one of my brothers, we had bunk beds and I had the top bunk.  Dad built some units which incorporated a desk and I remember feeling really grown up as I sat there playing Spirograph.  Our curtains were a pattern of old infantry soldiers and at night they looked a little spooky.  I was scared of the dark then and would lie in bed trying not to breathe in case someone or something would discover me.  My bunk bed became my safe house where I couldn't be touched.

Whilst Dad set about laying lawn and flower beds, my brother and I would play amongst the half-finished houses at the end of the estate, running in and out pretending to shoot each other.  We would pick up any junk left by builders that resembled a weapon and on one occasion managed to procure a new pick axe handle for Dad.  As more families moved in, our circle of friends grew ever larger and before long we were playing cricket in the street, breaking a few windows in the process, and organising marathon bike tournaments around the crescent.  Some of us even rode around hands-free, frequently coming off and grazing exposed body parts.

There seemed to always be people coming in the back door which was invariably open, our friends as well as neighbours that my parents had got to know.  One couple had a garage stuffed full with chocolate bars and biscuits.  He was a sales rep for Nestle and would often let us go into the garage and choose what we liked, our very own Willy Wonker!

After we'd been there for a couple of years there was a really bad flood that came up to the ground floor windows of most of the houses although it only managed to lap at our doorstep as our end of the estate was on a slight incline - I remember wading to school with my uniform in a plastic bag!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

A Dream

Blood everywhere, possibly from a body.  I worry how I'm going to get it off the carpet.

A Fear

(This is one of Seven Answers).

Deep water.  It's not the fear of having nothing beneath you, but the fear of having EVERYTHING beneath you, and the fear of the totally unknown.  I had a discussion about this with my best friend when I was about 17.  She agreed with me.  She thought about it for a while and then described how she felt about it.  She told me to look at the ceiling. We were in the sixth-form common room at the time.  I looked up. Then she said to imagine I could see just the legs of an Action Man doll, protruding from the ceiling.  I pictured them, very small and a long way up.  Then she looked around the room.  She said, 'Now imagine all this room is full of water and it's really dark down here - think about being that action man.'  We both shuddered.  Not everybody gets it, and that's fine, but I still have trouble with ferry crossings and I can't ever imagine myself on a cruise liner.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

A Crime

When I was fourteen I broke into BBC Television Centre.  More than once.

I was the quiet friend of a group of bold girls.  I loved it.  Being quiet didn't mean I was less naughty though.  We were all odd in our own way.  Growing up in London was both exciting and very scary.  It was my time of racing hormones and thrills to be sought out.

One of the things that thrilled us most was music, all sorts, goth, punk, pop, we listened to it all and we fancied everyone in the bands.  We heard that one of the bands we liked was going to be on Top of the Pops, so we decided to take the tube to White City and hang around outside to see if we could catch anyone going in or coming out.  We waited there for ages in the cold.

Then we saw two girls being escorted out by security, two girls about our age being shown to the gate and told never to come back.  Grumpily [the girls] shunned them and walked by.  Jodie (the boldest [of our group]) caught them up and asked them if they were ok and what happened, and then we found out...

The BBC building is a massive place.  If you go around it, down one of the side streets, quite a way, there is a park, Hammersmith Park.  If you cross this park swiftly to the back, there are (well there was) tall bushes and trees which hide a very tall spiked fence and directly on the other side are humongous storage containers, the kind that would store a small house, all hidden by the bushes.  To this day I have no idea how I got my chubby body up and over the fence, aided by trees as none of us were good in P.E. but I did, we did.  Up and over and slide down the 15" gap between the fence and the containers until our feet found the fence footings which was a handy wall to walk along.  Squeazing along we could cover quite a distance without being seen, back to the BBC building.  Once we had reached the end of the containers there was a matter of one security post.  A uniformed man, with his peeked cap, in his little box, with a walkie-talkie, waiting.  But the box wasn't really pointed towards where we were hiding, so it was a short time before his head was turned and one by one we legged it to the circular-shaped building.

We were in.  The building was sectioned off into four colours.  It didn't take long to work out we needed the green section and that's where we headed.  Passing through corridors filled with doors, all with names of presenters or TV shows or administration-type titles on them, the Saturday morning kids shows, news readers, Blue Peter presenters.  We passed one that said Andy Peters, [then] Philip Schofield and again as Jodie was the boldest she tried the door.

It was open.  It was empty.  We all had a look.  Not a big room, a desk chair and lots of paperwork and books.  Sitting on a shelf was Gordon the Gopher.  We hatched a plan to take the puppet and leave a funny ransom note.  We did and we thought it was hilarious.

Passing people we recognised from TV, we did stop and ask Harry Enfield for an autograph.  He did, but quickly, he didn't really like it.  I learnt that day that even though you can be on the telly or on stage and put yourself in a position where everyone will laugh at you, privately you can be the shyest of them all.

Being interested in costume I was delighted to find rooms with rails and rails of costumes and accessories, a costume department.  Some of them we recognised from Blackadder.  One of Queenie's beautiful head-dresses for instance, with its jewels and pearls that was almost heart-shaped with its droplet in the middle that sits on the forehead.  Holding it was one of the most thrilling moments of my life.

It was also parallelled with [the] anticipation of getting caught, which eventually we did.  The closer we got to the Top of the Pops studio the more security was pacing the corridors and we just couldn't dodge all of them.  They knew Thursday night would mean chasing the pop cravens out of the place and it looked like they hadn't worked out yet how we all got in.  We were all under sixteen and harmless really, so I guess it was worthless calling the police and probably made the security look lame.  We didn't run.  It was getting time to make the long journey [back] anyhow before we were really late home and got the bollocking we deserved.  And we didn't want to climb the fence again to get out.

We didn't get to see the band, and I can't even remember who it was we went to see.

On Saturday morning we kept an eye on the TV show Going Live and felt sure it would be mentioned that Gordon was gone.  Not a mention of a ransom note, its demands and Philip didn't swear on kids' TV as our demand stated.  Our Gordon was obviously one of many Gordon puppets and he appeared, as his squeaky normal self on the show.