Scary stuff

A recent pub conversation about scary things that people had had happen to them reminded of my own spookiest moment and I thought I'd better note it down before I start getting old and forgetting such things.

(I'm afraid it's not particularly scary though)

I was spending a lazy summer afternoon at my grandparents' house in Freethorpe - at least I think it was summer; it was definitely Freethorpe. I must have been around 8 or so as I was behaving quite mischievously and found myself getting bored easily. After a couple of hours of playing quizzes together on Teletext (anyone remember Bamboozle?) and general grandparent-grandchild things, my granny went through to the kitchen to call her daughter, my aunty.

I remember that Strike It Lucky was on the television and that I wasn't enjoying it very much and had been finding Michael Barrymore quite annoying so I decided to pick up the second telephone - which was in the living room with me - to see if my granny and aunty were talking about anything interesting. I'm not sure what possessed me to do that as it turned out to be quite a dull conversation.

After a few minutes of listening in on their general chit-chat (I'd worked out that they knew I was listening in and I'm pretty sure they were trying to bore me into hanging up), I noticed that the incessant drone of game show noises coming from the telly had been slowly driving me nuts.

So I turned to the telly and stuck my tongue out at it; the only sensible act of defiance in the face of daytime TV.

At that exact moment, the camera cut to Barrymore so that he was looking directly at me. The audience was silent as he spoke: "Don't do that!"

And then the audience all laughed at my shocked expression.

I had insulted Michael Barrymore and he had noticed and chastised me for it! (Lucky it wasn't 2001; it could've been much worse)

That single, terrifying moment has stayed with me all my life although I can't say that it's particularly affected me except perhaps for giving me a greater appreciation of coincidence.

So, well, that's my tale of terror. Dull, I know but I wanted something to remind me of it in future.

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