Don’t you just love it when you can watch fireworks for free? My flat has large windows that overlook a playing field, and they have an organised fireworks show. So I have just sat back with a glass of wine in the warm and enjoyed some spectacular fireworks, all on the cheap. Marvellous!
This leads us to things that go boom, or rather bump, in the night. As a young child, I was scared stiff of the Smash Makes Mash robots. Seriously! I had a horrible nightmare when they were marching around my house with swords laughing their evil manic cackle, and that put me off them for life.
Equally chilling for me was the ghost from the credits in Scooby Doo. You know the one, it had green arms and a white mantle, and tried to drag Daphne into a dark alcove – re-watching this, and the figure is barely on screen yet was there long enough to give me nightmares.
I was convinced Jaws could somehow live at the bottom of my bed, and spent hours conjuring up elaborate anti-burglar plans – these consisted of hollow spaces under beds where I could flick a switch and everyone in my family would stay safely asleep but they would descend into the hollow space and a new mattress / bedding would go on top, like there was no one there. I also was scared of car headlights flashing through my curtains, and really hated clowns with a passion.
However this was nothing, nothing I tell you, compared to the day I watched my first horror film. I was perhaps 11, it was Oct 31st, and my older cousins decided it would be fun to make me watch A Nightmare on Elm Street. Hiding behind a pillow was apparently very babyish, so I watched it all, laughed politely with the cousins and came home.
I didn’t sleep again for about a month.
It was horrendous, I wasn’t allowed to sleep with my light on, so I would wait until I thought everyone in the house was asleep and try to sneak it on, only to be shouted at to ‘turn that bloody light off!’ But with it off I couldn’t watch the walls in case Freddy was peering over… it was a lose-lose situation, until I discovered the merits of radio. I had a small portable, and discovered if I put that on quietly and held it to my ear, the sound of presenters talking somewhere in the night made me feel so much better. For some reason knowing someone else was awake helped – I was mostly cured listening to LBC.
But a dream gave the final solution. In it, I was in the house by myself, and heard a noise in the garden. Going to the back door, I saw it was Freddy, who asked me if I’d mind if he stayed on the sofa for the night. I wagged my finger at him and said oh-ho! I’ll say yes, and then what happens eh? And he promised he would never get me, so I let him in and then realised the back door was broken. I worried out loud about burglars, and Freddy just waggled his glove at me and said don't worry, I can handle it, and we laughed together knowingly, and I went upstairs to get some much needed kip. It was great! I had the best night's sleep ever, all thanks to my new spikey-gloved friend. Hoorah!