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» Guilty Laughs

Knives are fun
I was on the phone to my Gran about a year ago, and she was telling me about a nasty cut she got on her hand while cutting some cheese. In great detail, and to my complete discomfort (as I do not like blood), she explained how much blood was dripping from her hand onto the floor and how she had managed to wrap a teatowel round the wound as a temporary bandage.

Now, my Gran's not too quick on her feet (I'm ninety-two, you know), so she explained how she shuffled through to the bathroom with her zimmer frame to get the plasters, and how she had to clean the wound, and all the trouble of getting a plaster on before the bleeding finally stopped. I sat patiently and sympathetically listening to my poor old Gran's tale. All in, she reckons, the whole traumatic episode took about half-an-hour between her cutting herself and finally getting the plaster in place. Old age is a bitch.

Finally, she cleaned herself up and shuffled slowly though to the kitchen again, where the bloody knife was still sitting. She slowly took the knife over to the sink and gave it a good wash, then zimmered back to the cheeseboard, knife in hand. She positioned herself in front of the cheeseboard, picked the knife up, then promptly dropped it, pointy tip downwards, into her foot.

At this point, I burst out laughing and struggled to speak. Fortunately my Gran is a bit deaf, and did not hear the strangled guffawing at my end. She then explained how she had to shuffle back though to the bathroom, with a sharp knife protruding from her foot, trying not to bump it with her zimmer frame as she inched her way forward. By the time I got off the phone, I was crying with laughter. I am going to hell.
(Tue 27th Jul 2010, 21:00, More)

» B3TA Most Haunted

The old lady in the wheelchair
I was awakened one cold, dark, autumn night by a muffled thump downstairs. It sounded like something heavy had collided with the wall downstairs, directly beneath our bedroom. This was followed a few seconds later by a quiet female voice, then silence...

My wife and I had just bought an large old house that required everything doing to it. The previous owner, an old lady who had recently died, had been mostly wheelchair-bound. Manouvering a wheelchair in this house resulted in many of the walls and skirting boards to be bumped and scratched. So, letting my imagination run riot at two-thirty in the morning, my brain conjured a wheel-chair bound spirit coming back to haunt our house.

After a couple of minutes, I managed to haul myself out of bed and check each room downstairs - nothing was out of place, and there was only silence. I ensured all the doors and windows were secure, and returned to bed.

Within 20 minutes or so, I had drifted back to sleep. Not for long, though. Once more I was roused; another 2 thuds in quick succession. Again, a few seconds later, I heard the same female voice quietly talking downstairs. Then, once more, stillness.

I lay absolutely still in bed, hearing only the gentle swish of the trees outside our bedroom window. I rolled over and looked at my clock. Ten past four. Haunted, and what's more, the alarm clock had decided to taunt me further by flashing the time rather than displaying with its usual familiar neon glow.

The penny suddenly dropped - a power interruption makes an alarm clock flash like that.

So the source of the thump? I leave my stereo amplifier on all the time; attached to the amp at the time were a large pair of floor-standing speakers. When I did occasionally power the amp down, you would get a distinctive thump. There must have been a couple of brown-outs during the night - enough to cause the power to briefly interrupt on the amp, but not enough to reset the time on the clock.

So the final piece in the puzzle? Who was the mysterious lady talking downstairs? Well, when we moved in, there was an old answering machine already set up which had belonged to the previous owner. Once we had unpacked ours, we had disconnected the old answering machine from the phone line, but had omitted to unplug the power cord. So when the brief power outages occurred, the old answering machine booted-up, and the default message played.
(Mon 17th Sep 2012, 23:21, More)

» Ouch!

One of my earliest memories...
When I was a nipper (about 4'ish), I was too short to reach the light switch for the bathroom, which was rather conveniently positioned at the top of the stairs. Fortunately, my sister, who was about 5 at the time, showed me the smart way to reach the switch; she would put her foot on the bottom shelf of the bookcase, step up and flick the switch. Ooh, I thought - that's clever. The next time I wanted to go to the bathroom, I tried this new trick.
I put my foot onto the bottom shelf of the bookcase, stepped up and flicked the switch. Hurrah, I thought to myself. It was at this point I discovered that my father had not fixed the bookcase to the wall. Oh dear, I remember thinking, as the bookcase tipped slowly backwards - this is probably going to smart a bit.
As the bookcase hit the floor, I was launched down the stairs, along with an avalanche of books from the top shelf. To make matters worse, our stairs had thin sisal carpets which scratched every part of my body as I flailed down the stairs head over heels. At the bottom of the stairs, the final 3 steps turn right, which I tumbled round and landed with a winding thump on the floor. As I lay there gasping for breath, several heavy tomes completed the journey to the bottom of the stairs by crashing onto various parts of my prostrate body.
Worse was to come, though. The bookcase, seeing all the books having a nice tumble down the stairs, decided to join them. I was alerted to this fact by the large thumping steps as it made its way down the stairs. I lay there waiting for the impact, but the steps stopped. Oh joy, I thought - at least the bookcase didn't hit me. Of course, the bookcase was only resting on the final few steps. As I rolled over and looked up, the bookcase was tipping over from the bottom couple of steps, whereupon it landed square on my chest, almost flattening me.

After a couple of minutes, my parents discovered my dazed and crumpled body, and I was rushed to hospital. Miraculously, I had no serious injuries; I did, however, develop an unhealthy fear of bookcases.
And I learned to go to the toilet in the dark from then on.
(Thu 29th Jul 2010, 23:55, More)

» Water, boats and all that floats

Boozy barbeque and sailing at night
After a pleasant day's beach barbeque on the West coast of Scotland, we were returning back to anchorage on the yacht my Dad had borrowed from his mate. It was getting rather late (after midnight), so it was getting difficult to see where we were going. As we approached the sea loch leading to the anchorage, my step-brother Graham was on the tiller steering, right at the back of the cockpit.

My Dad and I were sitting in the cockpit chatting, when suddenly Graham became airborne and flew past us, superman style, and disappeared below deck through the open hatchway. This unexpected airborne manoeuvre was accompanied by a large thunk as the yacht made contact with a submerged rock.

Although Graham's impressive flight lasted over 12 feet, along with a 6 feet descent below deck, by some miracle he made no contact with the side of the hatchway as he went below and landed flat, still in the superman position, and slid to the very front along the cabin floor. He emerged without a scratch on him.

We were similarly lucky with the yacht - we had made just a glancing blow to the top of the rock, so had sustained no damage. We did, however, keep quiet about our Concordia incident when we returned the keys.
(Mon 5th Nov 2012, 12:28, More)