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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Cut the cords

I have a scar on my knee, all because of fashion.

Many moons ago, I was on holiday in the Lake District, in northern England, with my parents and older sister. Mum and Dad had a static caravan in a small park up there, and we'd visit most weekends. This was one of those weekends.

I have amazingly fond memories of those times up there, and my love for one of England's most beautiful areas abides to this day. Even if, on this weekend, something terrible happened - and, worse than that, it would return to haunt me as I grew into adulthood...

This must have been in the very early 1980s, and I must have been no more than ten years old. But so safe was this caravan park that my parents would often let me go off on my own to play. The park was surrounded by hills, and there was one particularly steep slope, swathed in bracken at its base, at one side of the park. Moss-covered rocks were dotted here and there across the slope as it made its way up into a dense wood.

On the warm, sunny day in question, I decided that I would explore this cool, dark forest to see what lay beyond. I set out on my own, bravely into the unknown. This must have been quite late in the afternoon, as I know that it wouldn't be long before we were driving round the night-time roads of Cumbria, a flannel pressed to my wounded knee, in search of an open A&E department.

Now, to understand my state of mind on that day, you must know that the young, impressionable boy that I was had seen a video copy of An American Werewolf in London just a few days before. I think it was my brother's, and I knew I shouldn't be watching it - but I learnt my lesson when I was too scared to get past the dream sequences, and didn't go back to finish watching the film for 20 years. And I was an imaginitive child (common euphemism for 'a little moontouched'), so when I heard the sound as I pressed deeper into the gloomy wood, my terror began to increase...

There I was, far from civilisation (if you could call a static caravan civilised), and something was stalking me through the trees. I couldn't see it - every time I turned to find it, it was gone. But I could hear it. A definite swishing, sweeping, swooshing noise, following me with every step I took. I'd stop and listen out for it - but it knew I was trying to find it, so it stood stock still and silent, waiting for me to move again. So, I'd start walking - slowly, so slowly - and there it was again, the noise, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh. The werewolf of the Lake District was following me...

Panicked, terrified, I turned and ran back for the caravan, and the werewolf took flight after me. SWOOSH, SWOOSH, SWOOSH! My heart racing faster and faster, I burst through the edge of the woods and into the open. SWOOSH, SWOOSH, SWOOSH! Still it came. I careered into the tall bracken, catching sight of Mum and my sister walking down a different path towards the caravan.

'Mum!' I yelled. Actually, I probably screamed like a girl. 'Muuuuum!'

Then WHAM! I tripped and fell forward. My mum and sister would always describe how I disappeared suddenly beneath the bracken and then all they could hear was this unearthly wail, as I cried my guts up at the wound in my knee.

When I fell, I had smashed my knee against the sharp edge of one of those moss-covered rocks. I'd made a clean, irreparable tear in my brand new corduroy trousers, and had gashed my knee horribly. Off I was rushed to hospital for six stitches, and into the bin went the trousers. I never tried to penetrate the wood again.

Flash forward eight or so years. I was an 18-year-old man about town, and I was walking away from home to go and meet some friends in town. I'd just blown some of my paltry pay from my job in a restaurant on a new pair of trousers.

I was some way down the road before I noticed the noise. Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh. Immediately, I was transported back to the time in the Lake District. The werewolf had a long memory and now it was coming to finish the job. I quickened my pace and tried not to thing about this childish fancy, but swoosh, swoosh, swoosh - the beast was catching up with me! This was ridiculous, I thought - but my pumping heart said otherwise. I stopped, my blood running cold. The noise stopped too.

I cautiously took another step. Swoosh.

Then another. Swoosh.

Then I looked down at my new corduroy trousers. And took another step. Swoosh. And one more. Swoosh. It swoosh was swoosh the swoosh bloody swoosh trousers! Swoosh!

It was the bloody swooshing trousers all along!

I've never worn corduroy since.


MQ said...

If you think corduroy is bad, make sure you never even contemplate nylon.

(Clearly I'm thinking waterproof trousers, parkas, etc... but obviously I would also advise not to contemplate nylon stockings either. But I'll leave that to your own preference/judgement.)

Snooze said...

You poor thing. I will never wear corduroy again, just out of sympathy.

St. Dickeybird said...

Still, it got you to stop wearing corduroy, so it seems to have been worth it.

My knees are probably pretty scarred too, but mine are from those damn bathroom tiles!

Qenny said...

Not wearing corduroy makes the world a better place. Admittedly, my husband looks great in his, but so very few people can pull that off. (And no other bugger gets to pull his off.)

It's a shame it was American Werewolf you had watched, rather than one of those entertaining foreign movies involving hilarious goings on in the woods amongst able-bodied young eastern european types.

Liz said...

Poor moontouched boy!

For years I refused to walk down our wooden floored passage at home at night as I always heard people following me around..until I realised that the house was echoing my steps and they were always behind me, creaking - we had very high ceilings and the house had fantastic, if eerie accoustics. I commisserate!

Inexplicable DeVice said...

So, if it was eight years before you got new trousers, what were you doing in the meantime?
Sashaying around in your pants?

Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course... :)

Kellycat said...

That's probably the first and last time anyone posting on this blog has tried to explore a dark forest...

Fuckkit said...

Well what were you doing wearing corduroy in the first place??

Tickersoid said...

Spooky, I had a similar experience last week walking the poodles.
Turned out to be my jacket.

Is it actually legal for gays to wear corduroy?

Miss Mish said... You're not one of the better dressed Gentlemen Who Do Colours are you?

Tickersoid said...

Miss mish- if you are refering to me, my stock answer to such questions is

"I might be."

Tickersoid said...

Miss mish- After the above comment I went to work the night shift at'mill and got asked a similar quensiton.
This time it wasn't put so delicately.

"Oi, you ever been shagged up the arse?"

It's all to do with the title of my blog, 'He's got to be a bit gay'

"That's an inappropriate question, any way, how come you never ask the other guys such things?"

With other guys in the cabin up for a bit of banter, the conversation moved on and my interrogater missed his chance to 'probe me more deeply'