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IHateSprouts tells us they once avoided getting caught up in an IRA bomb attack by missing a train. Tell us how you've dodged the Grim Reaper, or simply avoided a bit of trouble.

(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 12:31)
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Safety Poo
I worked in Poplar for 8 years. I was due to pop in and see someone on Harbour Exchange on the way home .. not on the way - opposite in fact - but not planning on coming back to the office after. Had already picked up keys and phone when I felt the beginning of a turtle (home was an hours drive or more), so stepped into trap 2.

Came out afterwards and was walking towards the door when the bomb went off. couple of windows broken - thing fell off shelves. We thought a plane had come down (our Industrial Estate was right under the flight path for planes on finals to London City Airport.

Rang the person who I was going to see - her open office had solid walls, but front and back 'walls' were glass - on the ground floor - most of that office was in the dock out the back - she had stepped into her person little office - she was OK, but crapping herself....

Timings were such that if I'd Id not taken that dump, we'd have been in her main office when it went off.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 13:37, 1 reply)
During my summer holidays from university
I was working at an Aerospace factory as a general labourer. I was cleaning up behind this massive piece of machinery. It was a favourite place to skive as it was about the size of a truck and up against a wall and you could hide there and not be seen. As I had a good lean on my broom the machine started making some odd creaking noises. I casually got up to walk around to the front and see what was going on. As I walked round from the back there was the loudest bang I have heard ever to this day and the machine smashed in the the wall taking my trusty broom with it. I missed being turned in to a human pancake by about 3 inches. I would have been completely obliterated and my mother would have been able to bury me in an ice cream tub. Needless to say there were quite a few changes in the factory after that.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 13:32, 2 replies)
I'm going on a barge holiday soon
Can't wait...
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 13:30, 9 replies)
Mrs Sandettie's grandfather, Ralph was at Gallipoli in WW1
A couple of other soldiers in his unit were planning on getting the fuck out of dodge. Ralph was going to turn a blind eye but at the last minute grabbed them and stopped them leaving.

The two soldiers were charged with cowardice and were summarily executed by firing squad. They were unusually lenient on Ralph and all he got was being tied to a gun carriage and receiving a good lashing.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 13:07, 3 replies)
My mother-in-law
lived in the east end of London back in the 40s. The building she was in was hit by a bomb and promptly collapsed. She managed to duck to one side but was knocked to her feet by a falling timber which trapped her leg and she was pinned in. However, her friend was not so lucky and took the full weight of the timber which crushed her and promptly killed her.

My MiL had to lay there, trapped by a joist for a good 2 hours beside her dead friend whose arm and a leg protruding from the wreckage.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 12:58, Reply)
good job I was only 9 stone at the time
When I was 18, I, along with other mates, was visiting another friend who lived in a tiny hamlet in a house that was tacked onto the side of a farmyard. In this yard was a barn packed to the rafters with straw bales. We climbed about on them and generally pissed about. However, the way they were stacked meant that there was a small triangle of barn floor surrounded by walls of bales 10 metres high. The bales had been stacked this way because sticking out of the barn floor was a 4ft length of iron girder, the sort that has an 'I' cross section and is used to make Irn-Bru. The only purpose I can think that this girder would possibly serve, would be as a contrived plot-device in an episode of Casualty.

Other people left the barn for food and drink and so I attempted to reach the floor in this hole. As the walls seemed pretty sheer, I thought I'd try a different approach. I tried to abseil down into the crevasse of straw using that thin hairy blue twine they use to hold the straw together. I wrapped the twine around my hand and lowered myself over the edge. Just as I went over the edge, my foot slipped and I was left dangling by one arm with just the cord which had pulled tight around my palm, preventing me from plummeting the 30ft to the concrete floor of the barn. Had I coiled the string around my hand the other way, it wouldn't have pulled tight and I would have slid down, burning my hand in the process before bouncing off the iron girder and then hitting the concrete floor of the barn at 30mph.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 12:49, Reply)
First a real one..
December 1992, I was heading down to East Anglia from Lancashire with my mum,dad,sister and dog to spend the holidays at my grandparents. I'd passed my driving test 4 months earlier and my dad and I were going to share the drive down. My dad insisted that my normal footwear at the time, Dr Martens boots, were not suitable for driving and wouldn't let me drive in them. So i drove the first hour and a half and we then changed places.

As my dad would be driving the rest of the way I sat in the passenger seat and changed my footwear from trainers to Doc M's, leaning forward in my seat, stooping to change my shoes.

As I was doing it my dad commented "looks like an accident up ahead" and I sat up to take a look. 2 seconds later we got rear-ended and my the force pushed my leg into the (thankfully closed) glove compartment. It cracked the bone and it still aches to this day. If i hadn't have sat up, my head would have hit the dashboard/glove compartment and the angle i was at would have almost certainly fractured my skull or compressed my spine. Some twat had pulled out from behind a lorry that was slowing down because of the crash ahead, ploughed straight into the back of the car behind us (narrowly avoiding squashing the baby in the car seat in the back), and pushed that car into mine. Our car was written off, had to go back to Lancashire on the back of a recovery vehicle, we couldn't open the boot to get the presents out it had been crushed and folded in so much.

On the way back home, the recovery driver turned on a local radio station and we heard John Lennon strike up the first words of "and so this is christmas...." which wasn't quite what we wanted to hear
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 12:43, Reply)
If you want to read about narrow escapes...
...look no further than Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the man who survived both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 12:43, 10 replies)
Motorway Madness
September 1995...

Bombing it up the M1 back to uni in Leeds. Junctions 1 to 46 - 180 miles of pure, pristine tarmac. Fast lane all the way. 19yrs old, overtaking any motherfucking thing that moved. Averaging 115mph. Speed cameras still a thing of the future. Had to beat my record. London to Leeds. Last done in 2hrs 24min.

New motor. 'G' reg Daihatsu Charade GTTi. Pioneer headgear. Alpines embedded in the parcel shelf. Sub-woofer taking up most of the boot. 300w amp drilled under the passenger seat. 'Retrospective of House 91-95' rinsing through that system. "To the beat of the drum. Bang! To the beat of drum. Bang Bang!"

And me. Lit Marlboro Red hanging from my lips. Shades on. Desperate to return. Desperate get back to 'Back to Basics'. 'Vague'. 'Hardtimes'. Party time!

Like I said. Daihatsu Charade Gtti. Hottest hatch around. A twin-turbo monster that flew. Only 998cc under the bonnet. Genius quirk of Japanese engineering. That thing would never get made today.

I'm in the zone. Red-line all of the way. Leaning forward on my seat. Flashing my lights. Burning up coaches and caravans. If I'd seen myself today, would have called the police.

And then. From nowhere. An almighty. A colossal. A world-ending sonic BOOM smashed into my ear drums.

Sound barrier being broken? No.

Bass-bin blowing up? No.

Front left tyre exploding at 120mph? Yes.

Then everything went quiet. Tunes faded into the background. I knew I was having an accident. I registered that. Part of me fought with the steering wheel. Part of me tried to push all three pedals at the same time. And a bigger part of me braced himself and awaited the immense, inevitable pain, that was certain to follow.

The car turned. Yanked left out of the fast lane in a blur of screeching metal and burned rubber. In milliseconds the rear end had flipped out to the right. And for one perfect moment. For one clear as day, intoxicatingly frightening moment, I was facing the wrong way down the M1. Oncoming traffic seemingly inches away. I swear I caught the eye of a gobsmacked HGV driver.

Then time caught up with me. The Daihatsu had continued it's arc across all three lanes. As quickly as it had started, I'd spun a full 360 and was facing the correct way again. But this time skidding sideways at a terrifying rate. Towards the hard shoulder. Towards the trees. Towards the ditches. Towards the pain.

And then it was over. I was facing forward. Car not upside down. Just wedged at the far left of the hard shoulder, slightly in drainage ditch. The huge metal posts of a motorway sign just inches in front of me. The hard as fuck trunk of a mammoth fir tree just inches behind me.

Soon. I don't know how long it took. But soon a cop car had pulled up ahead of me. Light's flashing. The officers jumped out and sprinted over. They pulled open the door. They could not believe I was unharmed.

'Saw the whole thing,' jabbered one of them, 'we were ready to call in the air-ambulance. Would've bet my salary you were a gonna!'

The other one looked me up and down.

'Do you know you've got a fag burning a hole in your jeans?'

He was right. My Marlboro had been happily smouldering in my crotch for god knows how long. Jeans were burned through. Yet I felt nothing. Must have been the adrenaline. But that's when I broke down. Tried to get out the car and dust the fag butt off. I didn't make it. Fainted there and then on the hard shoulder.

Came round in the back of an ambulance. The coppers had changed my tyre. Was soon on my way again. Classic FM and never topping 60.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 12:35, 10 replies)
Bethnal Green Tube Station - 3rd March 1943
Me, my Dad, my uncle and my sisters were very nearly never born.

As you can find out from this wikipedia page, more than a hundred people (including children) were crushed to death when an unexpected explosion rang out through the streets of London during an otherwise normal air-raid, causing mass panic and a mad rush to the safety of Bethnal Green Tube Station, when a "woman, possibly carrying a baby, tripped on the stairs, causing many others to fall."

She was carrying a baby. I know this because my nan and grandad were the last people down the first set of stairs and around the corner before she fell, having been lucky enough to be making their way down when they first heard the air-raid sirens before the explosion and the panic occurred.

Had the woman ran ahead of them or had they been making their way down slightly slower, my family and I wouldn't be here.

Their first impulse was to turn and help but they were held back and pulled down by the other people lucky enough to have made it and told, "don't worry, they'll be fine" by a nearby official.

You may notice the phrase "the largest loss of civilian life in the UK in World War II and the largest loss of life in a single incident on the London Underground network" in that Wikipedia article, but "don't worry, they'll be fine".

I never really knew my nan because she died when I was very young but when my grandad told me this story for the first time, I couldn't help but notice a glaze of guilt come over him, swiftly countered by genuine appreciation as he looked around at his children and grandchildren around him.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 11:56, Reply)
My dad tells a nice story about driving in Greece during the first rain of autumn
The roads by then are covered in a mixture of oil and rubber from the tyres of the cars using them, and when water is added to them, this forms a film which acts, as he found out, almost identically to soap.

He was on one of those high, windy roads with the sheer drop at the side.

He turned to corner, but didn't corner, rather just continued the line he'd been following, heading straight for the cliff edge.

His thought process was, apparently (and if you knew my dad, you'd know this was actually the case), "Well, when one dies one's life is meant to flash before one's eyes. Mine hasn't, so presumably I'm not about to die."

The car promptly became lodged on a rock, not four feet from the edge.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 11:39, 2 replies)
When I were a lad....
At the age of 3, I was taken on holiday for the first time to some coastal place in France. I have very little memory of this trip with the exception of being sick on the bus for the whole nine hour trip there (which I am told severely pissed off a coach-full of pensioners) and the following tale...

We were relaxing on the beach a couple of days into the holiday, my mum having a nap and my day reading a book whilst my brother and I play with a crappy plastic football.... Well I say that, my brother was doing that typical elder sibling thing whereby he played with the ball and told me I wasn't allowed to. "What an utter cunt" thinks I. Actually, that is probably a lie as I was only 3 and had yet to add the word 'cunt' to my vocabulary... "What a jobbyhead" thinks I.

Turning to look out the sea, I see about fifty balls, just floating there, not a soul playing with them. They are beckoning me like sirens to come and enjoy their ball-like greatness! It is probably the greatest sight I have ever seen in my entire (rather short) life! So I start to run. Faster than I've ever run before, as there are quite a lot of French children on the beach and there is no chance they're getting to play with my balls (snigger). I somehow manage to speed up my wee legs even more as I enter the home straight, the sea is now but meters away...

Now I probably should mention that at such a young age, I couldn’t swim. I also had no armbands on and was fully clothed as my parents didn't want me to burn. About two meters from the sea, I was rugby tackled by my dad. I have never seen my dad run. He has a gammy leg which prevented him from being the sporty type for most of his life. As I was so focused on the footballs in the sea, I never noticed him running on this occasion, which is a shame really as it was the first time he had ran in 20 years and also the last time he ever ran.

As I was led back up to the sun lounger, which seemed to be miles away, I was getting a bollocking from my out-of-breath dad. I tried to protest my innocence; I had only wanted to play with the glorious sea balls.

It turns out we were on a beach next to a harbour and I had just attempted to sprint off the end of a jetty into a rather busy dock, to claim a buoy to play with.

I've never been allowed to forget this.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 11:36, 2 replies)
Swimming lessons.
I must have been about 8 years old and my dad was in charge of me that afternoon. It was time for my weekly swimming lesson and in his usual style, my dad was in a hurry.

The swimming pool was only about 5 minutes away by car so I got in and didn't bother with my seatbelt. (I was 8 and stupid & clunk click with every trip didn't apply to me. I thought.) My dad didn't realise this.

It would have all been fine if my dad didn't have to make an emergency stop because of some guy shooting out of side street on the right. But he did, which made me hit my head on the front window.
After shouting at the man a lot, my dad asked me if I was ok. I had a bit of a bump on my head and was fine but the window had a large crack in it.

I guess I have a hard head, or the window was just really soft? Anyway, I'm glad I didn't go through it & after that I always put my seatbelt on like a good girl.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 11:23, Reply)
I once called Alexi Lalas a "Cunt"
- Alexi Lalas is a footballer.
- Paul Gascoigne is also a footballer.
- Paul Gascoigne knew Raoul Moat.
- Raoul Moat shot people.

That close I was, that close...
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 11:21, Reply)
Oh, and...
...something about Superman going on a diet, and having to buy new clothes, specifically a narrow "S" cape.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 11:15, 1 reply)
Fackin' hell, You'll neva guess what...
I was walking home from work, years ago, when THE Big Bang went off just round the corner! Suffice to say I duly took the next day off. The day after that all matter had already started to coalesce into stars and nebulae so I went back to work... But FACK ME, I coulda been a gonna!

'Ave a bananaaarna!
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 11:15, Reply)
Not me but my sister...
Back in the seventies, in the North (note capital N), when weather were real weather, it got reet windy one day.

Windy enough to pick up 3 huge sheets of corrugated (spelling?) iron from a builders store next to our house, and send them flying through her bedroom window.

Because, and only because, she was not quite ready to move up from an old-fashioned, high-sided cot to a bed, she not only survived, she now had a lovely fort with a roof.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 11:13, 1 reply)
Marrow escapes


Anyone want any marrows/got any marrow recipes?
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 11:01, 4 replies)
Speaking of narrow escapes
Pissing it down outside and in the work carpark outside a lamp-post just got struck by lightning (not 10 minutes ago, saw it hit and felt me bloody fillings rattle from the resulting boom).

The narrow escape? Some stupid twunt who was about 20 yards away from it walking through the rain with a metal umbrella in his hand and shit filled pants assumably.

One extra from this is our alarm system in the office took part of the discharge and has fried one of the circuits, meaning the fire alarms are permanently stuck on...result :D
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 10:58, 1 reply)
I agree with Enzyme.
I visited New York with my parents when younger.

We went up the WTC to the viewing gallery (I say we, but 'twas only my Dad and I - Mum craps herself if she's higher than a gnat's flange from the ground).

I was ten.

I was born in 1969.

So, in a geological sense, I narrowly avoided being killed on September 11th.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 10:55, Reply)
Of course, I don't deny the utter integrity of everyone who's posted here, but...
If you were to count all the people who, running late due to a hangover, or a lost shoe, or a sneezing fit at Seven Sisters, narrowly missed being killed on 7/7, would that number be higher or slightly lower than the entire population of London?

(ADDENDUM - To put it another way, which is higher: the number of narrow escapes from the 7/7 bombs, or the number of fragments of the True Cross for sale in pre-Reformation Europe?)
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 10:38, 16 replies)
Air France Flight 447
I was supposed to be on that flight, but missed my connecting flight (I was supposed to be flying from St. Louis and I think, Cincinnati then down to Brazil for work), so ended up being flown back up north to Missouri, then on to South Carolina instead and flew out of there back to Gatwick, missing Brazil completely.

On an Airbus A330.

It was somewhat convoluted, and I was getting mighty pissed off about being flown all over the place when all I wanted to do was get the work done and come home.

Thank Christ I was.

Sadly, my grandmother died while I was over there, so I suppose Death got his way in the end.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 10:03, 3 replies)
Bomb attacks may feature heavily.
news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/december/3/newsid_2519000/2519715.stm

This is a lesser known IRA bombing of Manchester than the big re-designing one of 1996.

This was just before I stopped working in Manchester at the end of 1993. At the time, I was catching the train into Manchester and had two options. The first was to get off at Victoria and walk up to Crown Square, cutting across Parsonage Gardens with my breakfast in hand. Or, get off at Salford and walk over Ashley Bridge to Crown Square.

On this day, I walked up from Salford station and was on Ashley Bridge when the boom and blow out of glass from windows of what I thought were the Inland Revenue's building showered down on the street. Luckily, I was on the side of the Crown Courts and well away from it.

It's more of a walk from Victoria, so I probably wouldn't have been affected had I come from that end... although the surronding area was sealed pretty quickly making movement virtually impossible.

I do remember not being allowed down Deansgate or thru Salford for some time.... and I remember spending the afternoon in the pub getting wankered and still being paid!
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 9:56, 1 reply)
July 7th 2005
My normal route was into central London on the Piccadilly Line, then across to Paddington (via Edgware Road)on the Circle Line. I missed the Edgware Road bomb by maybe 5-10 minutes. Scary thing is, I only managed to miss it because I was early that morning as I had a load of work to do - if I'd been running on my normal schedule I could well have been on the train.

As the news emerged during the day that there's been a bomb at Edgware Road, I thought, 'Wow, that could have been me', but other than keeping up with what was happening, I just got on with stuff. End of the day, I walked home - as most people had to - because the transport system was still down. Met some mates in a pub on Holloway Road, where we had a few drinks and talked about the news. It was all fairly normal considering the fact London was 'under terrorist attack'.

Next morning, I got up, headed off to find my way to work, and realised I didn't really want to get on a bus, and ended up walking all the way to work. I sort of felt as if I'd been lucky once, and didn't want to risk it again. It was a very strange couple of weeks after that before I felt comfortable using the tube or buses again, which seems a bit ridiculous and I kept it from people that I was walking to and from work most days as I knew it was a bit daft.

Funnily enough, my dad was drinking in one of the pubs bombed by the IRA in the Birmingham Pub bombs about fifteen minutes before the bombing, so we've both been quite fortunate when it comes to bombings.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 9:53, 2 replies)
Reading festival 1997
I remember feeling a little 'wisp' run through the top of my hair, just as a vodka bottle full of piss hit the bloke in front of me in the back of the head.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 9:46, 5 replies)
Went to Harrods with my mum.......
......just before Xmas 1983 walked right past the car, into Harrods and then Boom! I remember all the xmas decorations simultaneous wafting in the shockwave.
That killed six people and injured 90 plus!
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 9:38, Reply)
Prepare for complete lack of funnehs.
A few years ago I was working in London for the ambulance service. One week a year, I had to go for a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) course. Now, I was able to choose which course I did, so I went for a MIMMS course (Major Incident Medical Management Systems). Trust me, this is NOT building up to a massive pun.

Anyway, day 3 of the course arrives, and we're sitting in our lecture when the lecturer's pager goes off. "Excuse me a moment" he says. A few minutes later he comes back in with an ashen grey expression on his face. "Right chaps" he says. "We're going to skip the rest of the practical and go straight onto theory. Apparently there's been a power surge on the Underground at Edgware Road and a train has come derailed, so grab your stuff and prepare to deploy."

We all toddle downstairs. I pop my head into the training office and ask if I can borrow the keys to one of the training vehicles, just in case we need some transport. Me and a mate (who we shall refer to as Sideshow Bob, due to his masses of hair) grabbed a new vehicle and booked on with control.

"Yeah, if you can start making your way to Edgware Ro....wait...what the fuck? OK, I need you to go to Tavistock Square WC1 NOW. We're getting reports of an explosion on a bus. Please be advised that we are now declaring a service wide major incident."

I cannot describe to you the terror of the next hour driving into central London. Listening to radio DJs who you listen to every day with their voices shaking trying to tell you what is going on. Watching people pour from buses and tubes, and you being afraid that the next one you go past will be the next one to go kaboom.

So where is my narrow escape?

Well, I was supposed to be working with my regular crewmate on an ambulance in Central London. As I was on a training course, I was at a training centre on the outskirts. By the time me and Sideshow Bob got to Tavistock Square, it was mostly all over. My role that day was making tea and distributing sandwiches, all the while trying NOT to look at the remains of the Number 30 from Hackney a few metres away. It remains to this day one of the most horrific things I have seen. Suffice to say the news pictures were heavily sanitised.

My crewmate was working with a spare member of staff and was first ambulance on scene. He coped admirably and I was incredibly proud of what he acheived. It's not every day that a 6ft 18 stone rugby player cries on your shoulder once it was all over, but that was one of the days.

No amount of mindbleach...

To everyone who was involved in the rescues on 7th July 2005, you have my unending respect.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 9:16, 3 replies)
Ask this again in a couple of years...
... and I'll be able to tell you about how my girlfriend successfully told cancer to fuck the fuck off.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 9:06, 4 replies)

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