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What women want -  June 2014

05 Jun 2014

I think there’s a ghost in our house.

In fact, I’m sure of it. And, before you ask, no I haven’t been into the whisky. Well, actually I have, but not to the level of which you’re suggesting. Just a nice neat little whisky by the fire at the end of the day.

Well actually, I haven’t lit a fire because it’s been too warm. But I pretend, because it’s winter, that the fire is going and then I feel much more glamorous having a whisky by it. Oh gosh, I’m starting to sound crazy even to me …

But back to my ghost. His name is Wal. Yes, he has a name and no, not from Where’s Wally fame but the actual name of the previous owner of my house. He died. Actually he died in my bedroom.

Before I bought the house, just to clarify. And I think he is still kind of here sometimes. He was born in this house and died in it, as his parents did before him. It was a real family home, passed on to the next generation. After Wal died, they decided it was time to sell the house. To me.

I have been thinking about this in the last day or two. Not on account of chains rattling, or moaning noises or anything like that. I’ve been thinking about it because it’s three years, to the day, since my house – and I guess Wal’s house for that matter – caught fire.

It just about burnt down, but being double brick walls the house “frame” stayed – the floors burnt, the ceilings fell in, the windows exploded with flames … It was a long time ago, but I can still recall the smell. Terrible smell. Like burning tyres. Worse when you know it’s everything you own that’s burning.

Anyway, the reason I think about Wal at this time of year, is because I woke up in time to carry my son out onto the nature strip and watch the house burn down. The point being that we got out. I’ve never felt so lucky in my life. And unlucky at the same time.

Waking up in time is something that I still question how it happened, and wonder what – or who – woke me up. Something woke me up. Before you make smart Alec suggestions like perhaps the heat of the fire woke me, or the smell of smoke woke me and so on, I’ll share with you what the fire inspector told me when he visited me in emergency that night.

“It’s amazing you woke up in time”. He explained that most people aren’t that lucky, as apparently you don’t actually smell smoke when you’re asleep. Or perhaps more to the point if you are breathing in the smoke, you’re breathing in carbon monoxide, which generally kills you way before the fire touches you.

So it is incredibly lucky that I woke up, even though you think you would spring up and straight into action sensing the emergency on your hands.  I didn’t spring into action, I woke up and was confused. I couldn’t figure out what was going on – which seems ridiculous now – but I got us out in time and that’s all that matters.

I think Wal woke me up. The fire inspector, when I told him my theory, agreed that this was as good an explanation as any. Perhaps he was humouring me, but I rather think he believed me.

Let’s face it, we were all in a little bit of shock.  But from that day I decided Wal rescued me. And Wal was elevated from mere ghost status to hero status. Occasionally, in the middle of the night, I still wake up with my heart racing and a fear I can physically taste (it always tastes like smoke, it’s so acrid and dry) as I scramble to check on my son and ensure my walls aren’t glowing with fire as they did that night three years ago.

Of course, they’re not, but I have a little chat to Wal and just tell him I’m relying on him to wake me up for anything like a house fire again. That he needs to watch over us from above, and just give me the heads up on the first sign of trouble, if that’s ok. And I tell him I’m glad he still hangs out here, and I thank him and remind him he’s my hero. And then I go back to sleep, feeling safe again.

You know, the adult in me knows this is just a little bit ridiculous and there’s no such thing as ghosts that watch over you (although, can I just point out that the Ghost and Mrs Muir was a favourite show of mine). But the child in me is taking the greatest comfort in my imaginary friend, and this time the child wins because I’m just not ready to give up Wal.

What a woman wants is to hold her head in times of trouble, but maybe women also need that hero figure to live on in their hearts and make them feel that little bit protected.

I hope you all have a hero in your lives that you can talk to, and I don’t think it matters if they’re real or imaginary, just as long as they make you feel safe.

With love xxx
Don’t forget you can email me at (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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