As it's that spooky time of year (when did Hollowe'en become such a commercial affair? Do pagans complain that it's obscuring the real meaning of Hallowe'en?) I thought I'd tell you my personal worst Hallowe'en story.
T'was a few years ago. I'm not sure how many now. I think it may even have been before me and Cath got married. Anyway, t'was Hallowe'en. I was very tired and so decided to go to bed. Shortly after I'd gone to bed, but before I'd gone to sleep, I was called back downstairs by Cathy, who was using her 'er, I think this might be serious' voice.
She had somehow fallen into a door and bashed her hand which was now incredibly painful. A trip to Casualty was called for. This was back in the day when the old Cardiff Royal Infirmary operated a casualty department, so we headed off there.
The CRI is a Victorian Gothic pile in an insalubrious part of town. It has seen better days... one would assume. To give you an idea of how sinister it is, in the past few years there have been a few episodes of Dr Who filmed there - using both the outside facade, and the interior institutional green hallways and waiting rooms. However the good folks in the BBC location department barely needed to do anything to grim it up ready for an invasion of gasmask-wearing child zombies or the like.
Anyway, so we were there in the institutional-green waiting room, waiting to be seen to. It was a Friday night as well as being Hallowe'en, so the main clientele were violent drunks or the victims of violent drunks with various bloody assault wounds. There was shouting and yelling from the drunks who had been brought in by police officers, and miserable sobs and moans from the bleeding and bruised. And it being the kind of building it was, every shout was magnified and echoed down the long hallways.
To compound the atmosphere, in the middle of the waiting room was one TV; an ancient machine mounted on one of those anti-theft brackets which look like they could double up as a torture device. As it was Hallowe'en the selected channel was showing a horror film, which was set for the most part, it seemed, in a creepy gothic hospital/asylum. All I really remember of it was that it starred Mark Hamill, and it ended rather abruptly after he chose to stab himself in the eye for some reason.
So we sat there, watching the blood ooze from Mark Hamill's eye socket, waiting for the X-Ray results to come back, and hoping we could get out of this creepy hospital, before anything worse happened to us...