The Un-Magnificent Seven

Me (29)The age of 7 was a very bad year for me. What with my cousin abusing me, and having many accident prone moments, I also happened to discover my biggest fear. Let’s try and wash down some of that dark with some comical accidental moments that made you wish you had a camcorder, if only to make £250 on You’ve Been Framed. There are plenty to choose from. We’ll start with falling into stinging nettles round the back of the Caterham Barracks when my cousin, Richard tried sending me off on an adventure looking for Land Mines. Or how about getting a Play Mobil person stuck on my bottom lip when I tried to bite his mop-top hair off, my teeth slipped and it clamped shut again. There was me running round the house, screaming in pain, with this plastic evil toy dangling off my mouth. I was taken to Town End Medical Practice and the doctor removed it for me. At least it gave them all a laugh I’m sure. He gave me back the toy, minus the hair so I didn’t do it again. Not funny enough? What about this…We were all at my Aunt Trisha’s house for a barbecue in The Grove. I was having fun running around the garden with my cousin’s Richard and Angela. There was a fence which was missing a few panels but still had its horizontal supporting posts. We had to run around the garden, duck through the fence and go back round again. First few times I did it with no worries whatsoever. I got so cocky I could’ve done it with my eyes closed. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s exactly what I did. I didn’t even try to duck; I ran smack straight head first right into the post. I hit the ground; Mum picked me up and dusted me off. After giving me cuddles, I was back on my feet again and running round the garden…I don’t need to tell you what happened next. A grand total of four times I did it. And after that I didn’t get back up again and woke up in my Aunt’s bed with the doctor standing over me. That’s the amusing bit out the way. You never really think about dying until you come close to it and then when you can see it, you can’t stop thinking about it. Death is a fear but it’s not my biggest fear, it is fire. We had been visiting my Aunt Annette at Alma Court in Caterham. Our car, which was a burgundy coloured Cortina, was parked on top of a newly built multi-story car park round the back of the flats. The tyres on the car were pretty flat as the back of it was quite low down to the ground, I don’t think there was anything in the boot, weighing it down. As we drove down the ramp, the bottom of the car scraped the edge and dragged down to the bottom. We started to turn the corner by Newland’s Court and I heard my Mum say she could smell petrol, and then suddenly the bonnet burst into flames. My Dad jumped out the car and ran off, presumably to phone for a Fire Engine. I was stuck in the back as it was only a two door car and my Mum couldn’t get her seatbelt undone. As the car began to fill up with smoke I thought I was going to die. I was panicking. I thought this was it, my life is over, but as luck would have it my Mum managed to finally get her seatbelt undone, pulled the seat forward, reached over and got me out the car. Since then I had to close my eyes every time I went past Newland’s Court. I was a wreck for years every time we went past the hedge that was there until it got taken away and I refused to go anywhere near that multi-story car park (which has now since gone as well). That day has made me think about death a lot, about what it will be like when I’m no longer around and it’s a scary thought to have, the fact that in the end there will be nothing.

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