For blogs with less than 300 Followers

For blogs with less than 300 Followers
Thanks to Hestia's Larder for this delightful award.
(For Blogs with less than 300 Followers)

Friday, 10 February 2012

Fear of Fear (1)

In my life I have been frightened to some degree many times, and for many different reasons.

Fear exudes from this terrifying object of torture

I remember being frightened by a large dog when I was playing on a playground roundabout, and having my foot jammed down a hole in the wooden deck. Being barked at by a large dog (it was a miniature poodle.  I was 3½ years old at the time, OK?) while undergoing extreme pain from my foot being doubled back on my ankle was not a happy experience, and I've been a bit apprehensive of roundabouts ever since.  I lost my fear of poodles when I was in my late 40s. Scotsmen are tough.

An obvious vicious killer

I remember being frightened, standing on a knife-edge ridge on a mountain in the Lake District with a 300 -1000 foot drop on either side, in heavy snow, with a strong wind blowing, rapidly edging towards a full-blown gale, and asking for help from my team leader (I was about 15 at the time, and on a school trip (Christian Group) (Before I learned better). I really wasn't that frightened until I heard the group leader telling is to kneel down and pray for:
  1. Forgiveness
  2. Guidance
  3. Directions (The stupid bastard wasn't talking about spiritual guidance, the stupid f*cking bastard had dropped his compass some miles back and was totally lost)

I got scared then.
I wanted one of these
one of these

I was frightened when 2 US Army soldiers pointed their M16s at me and cocked them when I stepped over the "death line" at a US/German missile base during a visit arranged by the British Army (I was an army cadet) in the 60s. I didn't know the anti-aircraft missiles we were being shown had 20 KT nuclear warheads.  The US soldiers were authorised to shoot if anyone unauthorised approached within 6 feet.  I needed a new pair of trousers after that little episode.  I also learned to listen carefully  to instructions given to me by armed men, a very useful and life-saving skill I believe.
DON'T TOUCH or you die.

I was really frightened when I was trying the pre-pre-para assault course in Scotland.  I had to successfully complete the thing to have a chance for selection onto the full pre-para course, which might have led to the admission to the Parachute Regiment of the British Army.  I failed. Not because of fear, but because of ineptitude. 
I was standing on a railway sleeper mounted on some iron beams about 15 feet (5 metres) above the ground and my orders were to jump across a 3-5 foot gap to another railway sleeper set at an angle to, and a foot lower, than the one I was standing (and quaking) on.  Eventually I summoned enough courage, squeezed my eyes shut and jumped.  I missed the other sleeper by a sizable margin (not surprising I missed. I did say I had my eyes closed.  Mistake.) and ended up crashing to the ground 15 feet below.  An army medic got me breathing again within a few minutes. (There's always a medic on hand during these courses, as injuries were fairly commonplace) 

The supervising Major did comment.

He said "Well done, you conquered your fear." "That's what we like to see"

The he followed this with " Unfortunately we also like to see at least a modicum of common sense, agility and the merest hint of a survivors instinct"

"You've Failed"

 "When you can walk again please do so".
(sotto voce) "Take your time dear chap, there's only another 48 chaps waiting for you to get out of the f*cking way"

The British Army is nothing but charm, manners and sheer bloody-mindedness.
But I was really frightened standing on that bloody railway sleeper 15 foot in the air, and waiting to jump.


Continued tomorrow, IF I gain sufficient courage, or whisky. Same thing really.
There is a point to all this.  All will be revealed in due course.


  1. I can't wait to hear part 2. And I think you may have inspired me.

  2. I. Cannot see the picture! This iPad thing isn't al it's cracked up to be!

  3. You've live through a lot of scary things. And you managed to fall 15 feet without breaking your ankles, so that's something.

  4. My only fear is some clumsy idiot breaking my double bass bow.

  5. Austan: You may have to wait a bit, my Beloved is dragging me away to a long (and hopefully sensuous) weekend in Wellington, and I may not have time to complete the post until next week.
    I don't do inspire. maybe you misread the text. Which particular piece of prosaic prose struck you as inspiring? I'd really liketo know.

    AliX: Which picture is not showing?
    Maybe it's a particular image type.
    Or maybe the iPad has a built-in censor, protecting your delicate eyes from sights not meant to be seen by a living female?

    Patience_Crabstick: Yep, I lived on adrenalin and beer (I couldn't afford whisky in those days)for years.
    The reason (I think) that I didn't suffer any more serious damge to my person after the fall was that I landed flat out on my stomach, the pressure being spread evenly over my ribcage, which is why the medic had to help me to start breathing again. Ah, the resilience ofyouth. If i tried it now, I'd probably end up in a wheelchair, with my rib ends sticking out of the decrepit flesh.

    Alistair: To what do you refer?

    Richard: Ah, but we live in hope.

  6. Sounds like it will be interesting.
    I am enjoying your blog. As your new follower I look forward to your visit and comments
    Helen Tilston

  7. My daughters on-off-on-off (at the time of writing) boyfriend is stood at the same point - I think he wants to fail now and go into the engineers instead - at least he'll learn something useful other than jumping out of perfectly serviceable aircraft and killing people that is.

    Whenever I see the word fear now - the voice of Davy Jones' from the Pirates of the Caribbean (played by the great Bill Nighy of course) comes into my head saying "Do you fear death?!" Er - frankly - yes I do

  8. helen tilston: Welcome. I hope you keep on enjoying my ramblings.

    Furtheron: The Sappers are probably a better career move, but it depends on what he wants. If it's excitement and fun, then he's better in the Paras, even though they're thought of as a bunch of knuckle-dragging psychos by the rest of the Army.
    Actually, nowadays, I don't really fear death. A long and painful illness I fear, but not the actual "putting out the light" I don't know what would happen then. I've got my own suspicions that that would be it. Nothing else, so why should we fear nothing?
    But I don't know and that's why I get so angry at those who say the have absolute proof.
    Show me the evidence!

    Ah well, requiescat in pace

  9. Maybe a couple of beers would be helpful in this regard.

  10. Laoch: Beer is always good, for almost any occasion.

  11. I am scared of the police, my dad, and fish. Looking forward to part two, young fella x

  12. I once did a parachute jump in my youth.....I thought I might have discovered my still remains the scarriest activity I have ever done....I did not take up sky diving but I did get a certificate.....!!

  13. The Harridan: Dad & Police based fear I can sort of understand, but Fish?
    Young fella???
    While gratified by such a description, I fear that comparing your photo (on your blog) and mine tends to say that the age differential is in your favour.

    YaH: I totally agree. Jumping out of a perfectly good aeroplane does seem a little strange. And terrifying. I'm glad you came to your senses.

  14. Love the way the instructor spoke to you afterwards. No namby-pamby crap about checking whether you've broken your ankle or anything, just shooing you out of the road.

    I dn't fear death either, I just fear not having stockpiled enough and powerful enough painkillers from a dodgy online Brazilian pharmacy.

    Jeez, your captchas are getting hard.

  15. looby: sorry, I don't control the capchas. The one time I took them off I got about 20 spams from Brazil asking me to either
    A.Buy their "herbal" viagra (I was tempted)
    B. Buy thier "herbal" remedies for depression and general malaise.

    Don't worry. I'll send them your e-mail.

    The Army was always a bit on the tough side,no namby-pambying or any f*cking vestige of Political Bloody Correctness.

    They did however do exceedingly good Marmite and buttered toast for tea in the Officer's Mess.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Site Meter