Sophie McCook

BBC Scriptwriter & Author of New Book Thinkless

Two weeks ago, we had a gale. Its promotors billed it as The Worst Gale for a While but really it was a common-in-garden gale. Poor Michael Fish was wheeled out for his community service (to incorrectly predict a super-massive roar when it turns out to be a narky bleat. One day Michael Fish will regain balance, and then they’ll release him)

The bluster coincided with bonfire weekend, just to add a bit of extra spice. Lots of people thought this was the right time to stand by a fire and handle explosives. My parents didn’t.

My father is a cautious man. My mother is all that and a vivid imagination to boot. My father has accidentally blown himself up (he comes from a long genetic line of accidental blower uppers). He expects the worst may happen, so tends to stay indoors. My mother imagines the worst is happening and usually rushes out to meet it. So when the house down the river started firing rockets upwind, she went to see if the garden shed roof was on fire yet.

She’s not dumb, she stood under the lee of the shed roof and occasionally peeped out as the sparks from the fireworks blew nearer and fell closer. Then finally she stepped out to take a better look at the shed roof. And that’s when a firework hit her in the eye!

Ok, it was what was left of the firework, which is a piece of jagged plastic attached to a four foot stick. So, no fire or gunpowder, but a four foot stick coming at you is usually bad news enough. It happened to King Harold and the best he got was a swatch in a tapestry with a bubble saying ‘Oowie!’

Ok, it actually landed just east of her eyeball. She lived to email me photos which are Tarantinoic and splattery. The doctor said ‘How unusual.’ And ‘you’re lucky to be alive.’

I wouldn’t bore on about ‘you never know what’s around the corner’ and I don’t advocate living each day as if it’s your last, because you’ll never pair a sock again, let alone pay the rent.

I’ve had three wonderful, elderly friends die in the last month. That wasn’t so unexpected but still all I’m getting are feelings of chances missed and their stories I never heard. Everyday we add a stitch, pair a sock, pay a bill, write a blog, dream about that thing, remember that friend, google the place.

If there’s something you always wanted to do and you’re waiting waiting waiting for the right moment, remember that sometimes things come from out of the blue to get you. My mum is fine, and the shed roof is fine. But too late can also be too late. Do it soon.

PS If you’re called Angus and run a fireworks entertainment company in Beccles, there’s an angry woman coming for you and she’s got a stick.

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Categories: Blog

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